Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tummalapalle uranium mine becomes operational: To contribute 25 per cent of India's uranium requirements

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh will soon contribute about 25 per cent of the uranium consumed by nuclear power plants in the country with the Tummalapalleuranium mines becoming operational.

Tummalapalle village in Kadapa district contains the world’s largesturanium reserves and the uranium mill set up by the UraniumCorporation of India Limited (UCIL) started operations. TheTummalapalle mine to begin with will meet a quarter of the energyneeds of nuclear power plants in the country.

Dr SK Jain, chairman and managing director of Nuclear PowerCorporation of India (NPCIL), told reporters here on Monday thatmining of uranium had started at Tummalapalle. Though he refused togive details about the quantum of uranium mined at Tummalapalle, DrJain said the mine would provide 25 per cent of the uranium needs ofthe country.

He said the nuclear energy generation in the country had touched arecord 32,000 million units this financial year, which is drawing toclose later this week. This is 40 per cent more over last year’snuclear energy production in the country. The turnover last year wasRs 5,000 crore and it has increased to Rs 8000 crore this year.

Referring to the proposed nuclear power plant at Kovvada in Srikakulamdistrict, Dr Jain said land acquisition would start soon as allmisgivings have been cleared. “Ours is a public sector company andeverything is transparent,” he said. Dr Jain agreed that the nuclearmishap at Fukushima in Japan had pushed behind the nuclear plant atKovvada by 15 to 18 months.

During the 12th five-year plan, eight nuclear power plants would beset up. They include four each of 700 MWe and 1000 MWe.

MV Kotwal, president (heavy engineering), L&T Limited, said hiscompany had invested about Rs 1,700 crore in the nuclear power sectorin partnership with NPCIL. “We do not have to be held ransom bysuppliers located in the US and Europe. We can make them in Indiaitself,” he added referring to indigenizing of nuclear technology.

The L&T integrated facility can handle 300 tonnes of ingots atpresent. It can be expanded to 600 tonnes of ingots. He said L&T hadstarted production of several sub-assemblies and taken up exports to acompany in the US. Kotwal claimed that many international companiesare interested in Indian products for nuclear plants.

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