Foundation stone laid for uranium mine in Andhra Pradesh

August 10th, 2008 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Aug 10 (IANS) India’s efforts to boost domestic production of uranium are likely to get a boost, with the authorities Sunday launching the work on uranium mine and mill in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district. Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar laid foundation stone for the mine at Tummalapalle village in Kadapa.

The Uranium Corp of India Ltd (UCIL) is building the mine and mill at a cost of Rs.11.29 billion ($268.8 million). It would have a capacity to produce 150,000 tonnes of uranium a year.

The project would be completed “as early as possible”, Kakodkar told reporters on the occasion.

He tried to allay apprehensions in some quarters that the mine would be harmful to environment and public health.

“We will take care of (people’s) safety. There need be no apprehensions. It will have no impact on environment or people,” said Kakodkar, who is also the secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy.

Several environmental groups have raised apprehensions that the mine would impact the environment and the health of people living in nearby villages. They alleged that several of their activists were beaten up by the police during the mandatory public hearing held in 2006, to silence their protest.

This mine along with another proposed in Nalgonda district are likely to address the shortage of uranium.

Kakodkar recently stated that India’s nuclear power plants were working at about half their capacity of 4,000 MW due to shortage of the fuel.

He said the slow process in opening new uranium mines has resulted in demand-supply mismatch.

The UCIL plans to invest Rs.31 billion to open new mines and set up processing plants in Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya.

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