Saturday, April 2, 2011

Boost to India's nuclear energy programme: Uranium reserves found in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 8: In a major thrust to nuclear power generation programme in the country, the city-based Atomic Minerals Directorate has discovered uranium reserves in Peddur and Kottur villages of Karimnagar district.
Uranium is present in these villages in the form of its compound, tri-uranium octoxide. Researchers of the AMD centres in Hyderabad and Shillong jointly carried out geological investigations coupled with reconnaissance radiometric survey over parts of Karimnagar Granulite Terrain (KGT), spread over an area of 4,000 sq km. India's ambitious nuclear energy programme aims at generating 20 giga watt nuclear power by 2020 and the discovery of new uranium resources will further boost the nuclear energy sector.
The AMD team comprising Anjan Som, M Sai Baba and others found several radioactive anomalies indicating the presence of uranium and thorium within granite formed during Archaean to early-Proterozoic era (3.8 to 2.5 billion years ago) at Peddur and Kottur villages. Analysis of the sediment showed high values of uranium. Thorium, however, was present in negligible quantities.
In Peddur village, the AMD team noticed the presence of as high as 1.96 per cent tri-uranium octoxide or U3O8. In the Kottur area, U3O8 was present up to 0.059 per cent. In both the places thorium was found in minute quantities.
The discovery of uranium, according to the researchers, has opened up the possibility of "finding uranium mineralisation in Archaean meta-sediments and thus provides a thrust for uranium exploration in similar geological environs in India".
Incidentally, earlier radiometric surveys in the area did not yield any results. A second survey, however, revealed the presence of uranium deposits.

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