Chennai: The Tummalapalle mine in Andhra
Pradesh is likely to start producing uranium by end of 2010 or
early 2011, a top Atomic Energy Commission official said
"Production is on at the Tummalapallee project... by
2010-11 we will start getting (Uranium) from Tummalapalle,"
AEC Chairman and Atomic Energy Secretary Srikumar Banerjee
told reporters here.
The project was initially estimated to produce 15,000
tonnes of uranium but was revised upward to 40,000 tonnes, he
said, adding this was the first project in India to use the
latest `alkaline leaching process`.
"Tummalapallee is new mine. The technologies used here
are completely new," he said.
Besides Tummalapalee, there are six mines in Jharkhand
which produce 400 tonnes of uranium a year, he said.
Banerjee said other projects of AEC would be at Lambapur
(Andhra Pradesh) and in Hubli (Karnataka). "We are also
looking at Meghalaya but still there is no progress...because
of opposition to it."
According to Uranium Corporation of India Limited, huge
uranium reserves have been identified at Lambapur-Peddagattu
region in Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh. UCIL is in the
process of obtaining clearances for construction of three
underground mines in the area and another processing plant at
Seripallee, 52kms away from the main site.
On setting up of two 700 MWwe capacity indigenous nuclear
reactors in the country, he said the groundbreaking ceremony
for one of the four projects was just completed at Rawatbhata
Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) would start
operations in a joint venture. This is the first time NPCIL
would be building such reactors, he said.
On measures taken by AEC to safeguard nuclear reactors,
he said the safety levels observed by the commission were much
higher than that practiced in any industry. "We are working on
a domain whereby accidents do not happen even in one in a
million chance.." he said.
Banerjee said Prototype Fast Breeder Reactors at
Kalpakkam would go critical by 2012. "There has been some
initial delay because of the tsunami. We have to do it
step-by-step. By 2012, it should go critical," he said.
Two more 500MWe reactors would come up at Kalpakkam and
site identification was over, he said.
On the Koodankulam Power project, he said they were
working on technical and commercial issues before operating
the contract (for the third and fourth reactor at Kudankulam).
Recently, Banerjee had said one of the two reactors of
the 2x500MW nuclear power projects at Koodankulam Power Plant
was expected to go critical by year end and the next after
another few months.