India finds huge uranium deposit

By: Poonam Shah | Views: 1534 | Date: 28-Jul-2011

INDIAN officials have announced the discovery of a vast uranium deposit, which they claim is among the biggest in the world.

India finds huge uranium deposit


INDIAN officials have announced the discovery of a vast uranium deposit, which they claim is among the biggest in the world.


The chairman of the country’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Srikuman Banerjee, revealed the information at an event celebrating the start of work on two new 700 MW nuclear reactors.


"It`s confirmed that the mine has 49,000 t of ore, and there are indications that the total quantity could be three times of that amount. If that is the case, it will become the largest uranium mine in the world. The plant is ready, and will begin production by the end of this year," Banerjee told the Times of India.
The deposit, and its Tumalappalli mine, is in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. If the reserves turn out to be as plentiful as Banerjee hopes, they will almost double India’s capacity, which currently relies on two mines estimated to hold around 170,000 t of the mineral between them. Reportedly, the reserves are big enough to support 8,000 MW of nuclear capacity for 40 years.


Despite operating its own mines, India still relies on imports to fuel its reactors. The country is planning a rapid expansion of its nuclear sector over the next few years, with the fresh building work celebrated by Banerjee representing just two of the seven units the country has under construction.
By the time they come online towards the end of 2016, India is predicted to have increased its nuclear capacity from 4.8 GW to roughly 10 GW. By 2020, it plans to have more than doubled this.


The two 700 MW reactors are being added to the Rawatbhata plant in Rajasthan, at a cost of around 130b rupees ($2.9b). Nalinish Nagaich, executive director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India said that the units were designed in the country, and have “advanced safety features.”


Nagaich focused on the units’ new passive systems, which can shut down the reactor without the need for an external operator or power. These have drawn particular attention in the wake of the Fukushima accident, which was severely worsened after a power cut and water-logged generators led to the plant’s cooling mechanisms completely failing.


 

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