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Atomic Minerals Directorate-led team discovers uranium reserves in Srisailam forests

Economic Times:  July, 2015

Hyderabad: India's plan for a 'strategic uranium reserve' received a shot in the arm with a joint research team of the city-headquartered Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) and Osmania University discovering significant quantity of uranium reserves in the Srisailam forests. 

The AMD-OU team carried out research in an area spread over 45 sq km around Srisailam sub-basin of Kadapa super basin in Andhra Pradesh. A part of the Kadapa super basin extends over to Telangana state. The team zeroed in on Chennakesavula Gutta and Padra villages using the latest equipment to detect the precious radioactive element. The quality of the uranium mineralization discovered in these two areas is superior and comparable to the one available in Canada and Australia, team members informed. 

Earlier, the AMD had discovered uranium reserves in pockets of Mahbubnagar, Karimnagar and Nalgonda districts in Telangana and Guntur and Kadapa districts in Andhra Pradesh. Chennakesavula Gutta and Padra are the latest addition to the vast uranium resources in the two Telugu states. Officials have estimated that AP has about five lakh tonnes of uranium reserves, mostly in the Kadapa super basin while Telangana has about a lakh tonnes of the nuclear resource. The latest discovery has added to the country's nuclear fuel security. AP and Telangana together account for 25 per cent of India's uranium reserves. 

The research team comprising S Niranjan Kumar of AMD and Vishnu Bhoopathi, RSN Sastry and B Srinivas of the department of applied geochemistry, Osmania University, published the discovery in the recent issue of the Chinese Journal of Geochemistry. "This discovery represents a significant breakthrough and may contribute substantially to the uranium resource of India. More significantly, the geological understanding of this unique mineralization may give definite clues in locating the classical unconformity-type deposits in the northern parts of the Kadapa basin," the geochemists pointed out. 

Analysis of the samples collected from Chennakesavula Gutta and Padra villages showed up to 202 parts per million of uranium. Also the uranium deposit in Amrabad mandal of Mahbubnagar district has been found to be unique. "Efforts in the identical geological set-up of Srisailam sub-basin will result in establishing many such deposits of similar quality," they said. 

The Uranium Corporation of India has already set up a uranium mining mill at Tummalapalle village in Kadapa district. It has proposed a similar project Lambapur-Peddagattu region in Nalgonda district. A mega nuclear power project has been planned in Srikakulam district and the new discovery in Srisailam is likely to make India self-sufficient in nuclear fuel.