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AMD top man allays uranium fears

Says natural radiation taken care of

SHILLONG: A top official of the Atomic Minerals Directorate has said people of the State “should see the facts” before protesting against uranium mining.
“Meghalaya is rich in uranium deposits and there is good grade of uranium here but there are so much protests. People should see the facts because we have covered a lot in terms of natural radiation background, which is there,” said Sandeep Hamilton, regional director (North East) of Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD).
Several pressure groups in the State are up in arms against uranium mining because of the perceived health hazards and impact on the environment.
Referring to India’s nuclear production, Hamilton said, “Uranium will be fed into the first phase of nuclear reactors in India because they are based on natural uranium.”
The AMD regional head said another fuel, called plutonium, will be produced that will be used in the second generation of nuclear reactors.
“There are many radio isotopes which are produced in the nuclear reactors and used in medicine, agriculture, food preservation, water sanitation etc,” he added.
On reports about changing colour of a river and death of aquatic life, Hamilton said uranium mining has nothing to do with such effects on the ecology.
Meanwhile, speaking to The Shillong Times, a source in the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research said, “A nuclear reactor can generate electricity from uranium and cater to adjacent cities and states.”
The source informed that so far, electricity generated from nuclear reactors is 6,700 MW, which is less because not much uranium can be extracted. But if generation is at its full capacity then the power crisis can be solved.
Speaking on the protests, the source said, “Allegations will be there but there are no scientific evidences to prove that after exploratory mining, incidences of cancer cases will grow… There is no risk in drilling of uranium as we deal with only natural rocks.”

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