Indian authorities are looking for uranium reserves just three kilometres from the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh in a first-ever such exercise, a top official said.
“We have got the required encouragement from the Centre and have taken up the exploration. There was no possibility to do heliborne exploration because of the hills. But we walked all the way up the hills to begin the exploration,” D K Sinha, director, Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) said in Hyderabad on Monday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a one-day seminar on ‘radiation and environment’ organised by the Indian Nuclear Society, Sinha said he went to the farthest village in the Indian side of the border, Mechuka valley.
The top scientist said the exploration for uranium had yielded positive results and further activity would continue, which would also result in mining.
The exploration of uranium was taken up in Aalo of West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, about 619 meters from ground level.
Uranium is used for producing nuclear energy which is considered clean energy. Exploration for uranium has also been taken up in several other states in the country with acceptance coming from Northeastern states too.
“Accessibility is one reason why exploration has been taken up in Arunachal Pradesh. Secondly, the political situation has made it more conducive to take up such activity for uranium exploration,” chairman and chief executive of Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) Dinesh Srivastava said.
Efforts are also being made for uranium exploration in Himachal Pradesh, while locals in Manipur have also given their nod for exploration. Work is also going in Assam, Nagaland, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, and Jharkhand.
“In Jharkhand we were exploring uranium, but also detected gold. Many other precious metals are found when we carry out exploration,” Sinha said.
Prospecting for Lithium has also gained significance. Some sites have been identified on the Karnataka-Andhra border, and some sites in Karnataka. “Lithium is a key mineral,” said Sinha pointing out its usage in batteries.
NFC CEO Srivastava said work on NFC Kota to produce nuclear fuel bundles used for generating nuclear power was taking place. An amount of Rs 4,200 crore was sanctioned by the Centre for the project. He said the project would be commissioned by end of 2022. “We are self-sufficient in terms of fuel, technology, capacity for our nuclear power plants. In fact, we can also export if it is required,” Srivastava said. “Our quality is the best available in the world,” he said.