Amid the hue and cry being raised by the Nalgonda district people in Andhra Pradesh about the upcoming mining project in their locality, Uranium Corporation of India Ltd on Monday tried to allay the fears of the public at a media conference in Hyderabad.
The organisation is planning to open a uranium mine and processing plant at Lambapur-Peddagutta in Nalgonda district with a Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) capital cost.
Replying to the concerns expressed by the media, R Gupta, chairman and managing director, said there will be zero discharge into the major irrigation project - Nagarjuna Sagar from the mining project since the water used in the project would fall into the special tanks constructed for the purpose, which would in turn be pumped down to an effluent treatment plant.
"We will take care that tailing ponds, where the wastage from the project is proposed to be dumped, will be constructed with a lining so that there wouldn't be any underground water contamination," Gupta said.
All the mining and milling operations will be carried out with zero discharge concept, he added.
UCIL plans to open one open cast mine and three underground mines. The project requires about 2100 acres of land, which is yet to be acquired by the company. With the project report yet to be submitted to the Union government for approval, the company expects to commence the construction of mines to begin in about a year's time and to complete them three years there after. The project is estimated to employ over 800 people upon completion.
With the coal reserves expected to last only for the next 30 to 35 years and hydel power generation dependent on the rainfall, generation of nuclear energy assumed larger importance, Gupta said.
The department of atomic energy, under which UCIL operates, currently has 14 nuclear reactors with an installed capacity of 2,720 MW. It is constructing eight more reactors with an additional installed capacity of 3,960 MW.
To supply the natural uranium, which is used as the fuel in these reactors, UCIL proposes to open a mine at Domiasiat in Meghalaya and a mine and a processing plant in Andhra Pradesh.