Home > Data - Power, Power > New Uranium Reserves in India Estimated at 1.5 lakh tonnes

New Uranium Reserves in India Estimated at 1.5 lakh tonnes

India’s ambitious plans of increasing nuclear power generation at a rapid pace was earlier constrained due to lack of raw material supplies and high dependence on imports. With the sharp growth estimated in the new uranium reserves found in Andhra Pradesh, the fortunes of the nuclear power sector look bright.

Also, with the government in favour of developing this source of energy (in spite of the catastrophe in Japan), the share of nuclear power generation in India is set to rise.

A TOI report:

The Tummalapalle mine in Andhra Pradesh may have uranium reserves of almost 150,000 tonnes, a 10-fold jump from the earlier estimate of 15,000 tonnes, officials said. “Our initial estimate was 15,000 tonnes. Now it is confirmed at 49,000 tonnes,” said Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) chairman and managing director Shreyans Kumar Jain, adding the reserves may further increase three-fold.

India’s nuclear power projects are dependent on imported uranium. Jain said excavation work had started at the mine, located in the Kadapa basin in Andhra Pradesh. He said uranium supply from Tummalapalle would begin soon. Currently uranium is produced only in Jharkhand.

Srikumar Banerjee, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, said the government was exploring different options to ensure that all the upcoming projects as well as the existing ones get sufficient supply of uranium. “With the finding of new reserves, we can run 10,000 Mw nuclear power plant on our own,” he said.

India recently bought 300 tonnes of uranium from France. It has also entered into a pact with Russia for supply of 2,000 tonnes of uranium and with Kazakhstan for 2,100 tonnes. Banerjee said India was negotiating such agreements with other countries as well. “We are also exploring the option of buying stake in uranium mines abroad,” he said.

The quantity new find is sufficient for supporting a nuclear power plant of 8,000 MW capacity for 40 years. Production will start in six months. Now, India has two functioning uranium mines — both in Jharkhand. The total reserves are estimated to be in the range of 1,70,000 tonnes. The discovery of the Tumalapalli deposit has at one stroke boosted the availability of uranium, lowering the country’s dependence on foreign supplies.

India continues to fancy nuclear energy as a possible solution for its energy needs. Unlike some other countries which have been forced to temper their enthusiasm for nuclear energy post-Fukushima, the UPA government is persisting with its push for what is considered to be the cleanest source of energy.

Categories: Data - Power, Power
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