India finds massive uranium reserves in southern state
India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh might have the largest reserves of uranium in the world, the country's top nuclear official said in remarks reported Tuesday.
Recent studies showed that Tummalapalle in the state's central district of Kadapa has a reserve of 150,000 tons of the scarce mineral, Atomic Energy Commission chief Srikumar Banerjee said, DPA reported.
"Studies have already shown that the area had a confirmed reserve of 49,000 tons, and recent surveys indicated that this figure could go up even threefold," he was quoted by The Hindu newspaper as saying.
Banerjee, who said Tummalapalle might well be home to the world's largest uranium reserves, made the remarks Monday at an atomic power plant in the north-western state of Rajasthan.
Exploratory work was under way, Banerjee said.
But he pointed out that the new reserves would still not be sufficient to meet the demands of India's nuclear energy programme.
India reportedly has a total reserve of 175,000 tons of uranium apart from the Tummalapalle find.
"The new findings would only augment the indigenous supply of uranium," he said. "There would still be a significant gap. We would still have to import."
Scientists said nuclear power is crucial to meet the energy needs of the fast-growing South Asian economy.
Currently, India has 20 reactors with a total capacity of 4,780 megawatts. More reactors were planned to expand the capacity to at least 20,000 megawatts by 2020.