Wednesday, 22 August 2012

New sources of uranium identified in Andhra Pradesh, India

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  The city-based Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD)
has identified new sources of uranium at Koppunuru in Guntur district
and Bichun and Nayagaon areas of Jaipur district.

The new uranium resources, if tapped, would boost the nuclear energy
programme in the country and bring down the incidence of power cuts.

Meanwhile, the latest estimates of uranium resources in the country by
the AMD has touched 1,72,390 tonnes available in the form of
triuranium octoxide (U3O8). The uranium resource augmentation has
touched 9,628 tonnes U3O8 in the last one year, thus taking the XI
plan total resource addition to 65,122 tonnes.

The AMD is now concentrating on acidic volcanic rocks to tap uranium
hidden in them. Acidic volcanic rocks in western, southern and central
India contain significant uranium deposit. Sindreth and Punaghar
basins in Rajasthan and Nalpani in Chattisgarh are also on the AMD’s
radar for new uranium resources. Acidic volcanic rocks elsewhere in
the world have yielded significant quantities of uranium. Researchers
hope to get a windfall from the volcanic rocks in India too.

Research studies by AMD have revealed the presence of uranium
mineralisation in Koppunuru in Palnadu region of Guntur in quartz
arenite (a type of sandstone) and  pebbly arenite. “The nature of
pebbly arenite, presence of colloform pyrite and carbonaceous matter
make this rock unit in Guntur district a potential host for uranium
mineralization,” says a research report published in the AMD journal.

Significant uranium mineralization was also detected in Jaipur
district. The AMD teams carried out uranium extraction studies in
Bhima basin, Gogi and Gulburga in Karnataka.

Andhra Pradesh contains one of the largest resources of uranium in
India and the latest finding of uranium mineralisation in Palnadu
sub-basin and pockets of Karimnagar district has only further
increased the State’s share. Andhra Pradesh has a little over 25 per
cent of all uranium resources identified so far in the country. Mining
activity has already started in Tummalapalle uranium mines in Kadapa
district, solving the uranium crunch to a large extent.

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