Atomic agency hits upon more uranium

The Department of Atomic Energy’s Atomic Mineral Division has confirmed that the uranium mine at Tumalapalli in Andhra Pradesh has three times more mining potential at 45,000 tonnes of uranium per annum against the initial estimate of just 15,000 tonnes, Dr Banerjee told reporters here after inaugurating DAE’s latest supercomputer, “Annapurna”.

While the current assessed total quantity of uranium availability in India is placed at 140,000 tonnes, including at Jaduguda mines in Chattisgarh, the significantly extra find at Tumalapalli mines has come as a shot in the arm for the DAE. How much uranium can be mined without causing damage to the environment is yet to be addressed.

The second uranium mines at Jaduguda and the new refining mills there have also begun operation, while India also imported some quantities of the mineral used as fuel in our pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR) from Russia and Kazakhstan, he disclosed.

Though the capacity factor in India’s nuclear power reactors, both indigenously built PHWRs and the safeguarded reactors, had slid from a high level of 90 per cent in recent years due to uranium shortage, the recent developments on the fuel front could help “to substantially increase” the plant capacity factor to 70 per cent in the near future.

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