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India may develop uranium detection system: AEC Chief

Written by: Staff

Hyderabad, Apr 11 (UNI) India will be in a position to develop indigenous time domain electromagnetic system in a year or two to detect deeply-concealed uranium deposits in the country, according to Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar.

Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research was collaborating with institutions in public and private sectors and may even go in for outsourcing of data collection to ensure the state-of-the-art system was in place quickly, Dr Kakodkar said while delivering the Prince Mukharramjah Endowment Lecture organised by the Indian Geophysical Union at the prestigious National Geophysicial Research Institute here last evening.

Pointing out that the geological setting in India was such that there was no reason why rich and extensive deposits of uranium in India could not be found, he observed ''while we have made impressive progress in our atomic energy programme, the fact remains that uranium resources available to us are modest and of very poor grade now.'' Projecting the country's energy requirement to grow by ten fold in the next five decades, he said ''nuclear energy provides sustainable solution, since the quantity of material that needs to be extracted from earth for meeting a given requirement, is extremely small on a relative basis.

''This can become even smaller if we can explore richer deposits of uranium like the ones that have been found in countries like Canada.

The Department of Atomic Energy had undertaken two-stage development of indigenous electromagnetic sensors for geophysical prospecting of mineral deposits, Dr Kakodkar said. In the first stage, ground based electromagnetic methods using transmitting and receiving coils will be used in the field for penetration upto ten metre.

Important areas such as mathematical model for electrical parameters of realistic earth, high frequency switching of current and amplifiers to pick up nano-volt signals will be developed.

In the second stage, suspended transmitter coil from helicopter will be used for faster survey of larger areas.

He stressed on the need for carrying out time-intensive geological and seismological investigations across the country where critical facilities of the nuclear power programme were expected to come up so that during the design stage enough information was available to specifiy seismic design parameter in an optimal manner.

Referring to radioactive waste repositories, he said emplacement of such wastes in carefully designed facilities at depths upto 1000 M in rocks which had remained stable over millions of years and devoid of substantial ground and surface water and absence of economic mineral deposits, was the preferred choice for permanent disposal.

The country had adequate time for carrying out these studies for setting up a repository as ''quantity of waste arising in a nuclear power programme is relatively small.'' Stating that a system was put in place at Kalpakkam to predict tsunamis in advance to repose confidence in the people living on the East coast, he said Reactor Safety Division of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre had initiated the programme for computational simulation for all the three phases--- tsunami source generation, propagation and run up evaluation -- with a view to assess impact on public life, property and industrial infrastructure located in coastal regions.

Significant studies had been carried out on basis of analytical solutions for specified seabed displacement using shallow water and Boussinesq models, finite difference simulation with 'Tsunami-N2' code and numerical simulations with indigenously developed finte element code 'TSUSOL' for generation, propagation and run-up evaluation of tsunami waves, he explained.

Informing that three dimensional ''SHOCK3D'' had been evolved for simulation of underground nuclear explosions and seismic wave propogation, he said ''our 3-D models are shown to predict venting due to sliding along the fault plane and crater simulation consistent with site observations.

This is the first successful 3D prediction of underground explosion in a composite media with faults and explains the venting mechanism.'' In his concluding remarks, he said a strong linkage with research on one hand and commercial exploitation activity on the other need to be carefully nurtured to ensure that programmes in earth sciences could provide credible and timely inputs in pursuit of India's atomic energy programme.


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