Massive uranium deposits found in Andhra Pradesh

Huge deposits of natural uranium, which promise to be one of the top 20 of the world's reserves, have been found in the Tummalapalle belt in the southern part of the Kadapa basin in Andhra Pradesh.

The Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), which explores uranium in the country, has so far discovered 44,000 tonnes of natural uranium (U3O8) in just 15 line km of the 160-km long belt.

The AMD earlier found uranium deposits in Nalgonda district and it was confident that it could locate reserves in the adjoining Guntur district, where its men were working now.

About 4,000 tonnes of U3O8 deposits were discovered in the Bhima basin at Gogi in Karnataka. Gradewise, the Gogi ore was richer than the Tummalapalle ore but it did not continue over a long distance.

Fracture-controlled mineralisation of uranium has been found at Rohil in Sikar district in Rajasthan and the grade of the ore is similar to that of the Gogi ore. The Rohil belt is 130 km long and there is continuity of occurrence of uranium ore. The Rohil belt may yield between 5,000 tonnes and 10,000 tonnes of uranium.

In Meghalaya, about 10,000 tonnes (at Domiasiat) and 8,000 tonnes (Wakhyn) of deposits were discovered several years ago. But the UCIL was unable to mine them because of socio-economic problems, said S.K. Mathur, Scientific Officer, AMD.

India has 19 operating Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) that use natural uranium as fuel. It is building more PHWRs of 700 MWe capacity each.