Uranium reserves in Andhra may be 150,000 tonnes

July 18th, 2011 - 9:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Rawatbhata (Rajasthan), July 18 (IANS) 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 Monday.

“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.

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