MAC: Mines and Communities

The uranium mining project in Andhra Pradesh: a dossier

Published by MAC on 2003-09-15

The uranium mining project in Andhra Pradesh: a dossier

July - September 2003

Harsh Kapoor of South Asians Against Nukes (SAAN) writes:

I have put together a small compilation on the upcoming uranium mining project in Nalgonda in Andhra Pradesh (India). This consists of news reports on the subject and a resource file with a reading list pointing at background material from outside India and some contacts etc. This dossier has been compiled in solidarity with the activists and members of 'The Movement Against Uranium Project' which is an umbrella platform of civil society groups opposing the mining project in Nalgonda.

We should all extend a helping hand of support to MAUP by firmly opposing the extraction and production of this lethal source material for the nuclear bomb, and for nuclear power programme. Since this new project is yet to begin, we should in public interest uncover the dirty legacy of uranium mining in India and elsewhere; The sordid experience of widespread cancer among uranium miners and their communities in Jadogoda uranium mines in Bihar should be shared with the people of Nalgonda. The Jadugoda mines have also been used for storage of nuclear waste from other parts of India. The Nalgonda mining project may also become a new storage dump for dangerous radioactive substances, creating even further risks for the region. The powers that be are pushing the case for the uranium mine as beneficial for local economic development and jobs, in total denial of the grave risks to public health and the environment. A decision to proceed with the mine will create irreversible consequences for present and future generations and should not be taken without people being able to make an informed choice. History will absolve us if we speak up now.

Harsh Kapoor (South Asians Against Nukes)


[1] List of material on this controversial uranium mining project posted earlier on the SAAN list
[2] [Excerpt from] A dying breeder by Praful Bidwai
[3] Radiant energy: People fight for development in Nalgonda (Lalita Iyer)
[4] Govt to decide on uranium mining fallout
[5] PW to oppose U-project
[6] Greens oppose uranium mining in AP
[7] TRS in two minds on U-mine
[8] UCIL claims need review
[9] Stir over proposed uranium plant in AP
[10] Mining by Uranium Corporation can lead to serious ailments: survey
[11] NGOs may be kept out of U-hearing
[12] Plea to stop uranium project work
[13] UCIL report full of inconsistencies: MAUP
[14] Environmentalists protest Andhra uranium project
[15] Resources : a reading list + contacts

List of previous posts on the SAAN mailing list containing material on this controversial uranium mining project; URLs to these earlier posts between July 2003 - 21 August, 2003].

21 Aug 2003 Subject: India: Radiation row over uranium project

13 Aug 2003 Subject: India: Uranium mining in Andhra kicks up row

11 Aug 2003 Subject: India: Andhra Pradesh - 'Proposed uranium plant will be safe' ?

4 Aug 2003 Subject: India: Row over uranium mine (Nalgonda) project near sanctuary

27 Jul 2003 Subject: India: Uranium Mining in Nalgonda

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[Excerpt from] A dying breeder

by Praful Bidwai

The Hindustan Times [India]

September 6, 2003
[broken link] try here:,00120002.htm

. . . in Jadugoda, where uranium miners breathe radioactive dust and where it's blown by storms into people's kitchens.

The occupational and environmental safety issues raised by uranium mining - the first step in the nuclear fuel cycle - have recently come into the limelight because of popular protests against plans to open new mines in Meghalaya, Andhra and Jharkhand. (There's prospecting for uranium in other states like in Madhya Pradesh too).

The global experience with uranium mining is extremely unsatisfactory. The uranium isotopes found in ores and their radioactive-decay products are both toxic. Studies show a two-to-five times higher incidence of cancer among uranium miners than in comparable populations. There's exposure to heavy-metal chemical toxicity, which affects the brain, kidneys, liver, etc. There is lung damage through silicosis and tissue-scarring.

No less important is long-term environmental damage through the dumping of 99.8 per cent of the mined ore, and its seepage into soil and groundwater, and spread of radioactive material from dried-up tailings ponds.

These issues were recently highlighted at a mandatory public hearing on a proposed mining project in Nalgonda district, 135 km from Hyderabad. At the hearing, DAE officials failed to acknowledge, address or assuage people's concerns. Their line was crude: radiation is everywhere; uranium isn't hazardous.

But the public isn't convinced. It's watching films on Jadugoda's heart-rending heath problems, and reading up on the half-lives of isotopes, and on radiation and genetic damage.

If democracy prevails, the project would be scrapped. And if rationality prevails, there'd be a moratorium on nuclear power, including fast-breeders.

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Radiant energy: People fight for development in Nalgonda

By Lalita Iyer

The Week, 7 September 2003

The Uranium Corporation of India's plan to start mining and processing of uranium in Nalgonda may have earned the wrath of activists, but it has found favour with a section of the local people. On August 19, they prevented the activists of Movement Against Uranium Project, a group of 20 NGOs, from expressing their views at a 'public hearing' organised by the company to address environmental issues.They say the activists' stand is against development in the backward Nalgonda district.

Pot of trouble? Radioactive contamination of water is a threat for some Andhra villages

The proposed mining area is part of Yellapuram Reserve Forest in the Rajiv Gandhi Tiger Sanctuary and right above the Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir. Activists say that there is every possibility of radioactive contamination in the reservoir and the Krishna river basin downstream. The guidelines of the Union ministry of environment and forests, and the Wildlife Protection Act and Forest Conservation Act also restrict industrial and mining activities in ecologically sensitive areas.

The processing plant is to be located at Mallapuram village near the Akkampally reservoir, which supplies water to the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and 600 villages. According to activists, leaching will contaminate surface and ground waters in the area. The wind would blow the tailings-waste after uranium ore is processed-around and the rain would wash it into water systems. They cite the instance of Jaduguda in Jharkhand where uranium radiation from the company's mines have left many diseased and crippled.

The company says a granite bedrock in the mining area will prevent seepage into Nagarjuna Sagar. Nor could there be any contamination in Akkampally as the processing plant and tailing ponds would be at a lower height. Tailing ponds would be lined with impervious sheets to prevent seepage, and the company has earmarked Rs 80.93 crore for afforestation to compensate for the loss of forest cover. It insists that independent health surveys have shown no radiation-related health problems in Jaduguda.

But the activists do not believe the company. "They are hiding information. They are not letting out mine management plans or the risk analysis report," said Ravi Pragada, national convener of Mines, Minerals and People. "They need to check the health status of Nalgonda people today so that ten years hence we will be able to find out the effects of mining on the people."

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Govt to decide on uranium mining fallout

The Times of India

August 30, 2003

HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board on Saturday said that the government will take a decision that is right for the people with respect to fears of fallout from the proposed uranium mining on the water in Nagarjunasagar reservoir from where the city is to draw water from the next year.

The water board managing director MG Gopal told a news conference that the board had presented its case at the recent public hearing in Naglonda district on the uranium mining project where it sought that any decision taken on the mining should not affect the people of city who will receive water from Krishna river that is dammed at Nagarjunasagar.

Gopal said that the city will begin receiving 18 million gallons a day of water more from Sunday, the day of the Vinayaka Chaviti increasing supply from the present 120 MGD to 138 MGD. Previously, the distribution system could handle 145 MGD and the capacity was now increased to 162 MGD. However, this level of supplies will be possible only when the reservoirs fill up.

There is a possibility of this happening during the cyclonic showers that normally occur during September, he said.

Gopal also said that three filter beds of the Himayatsagar reservoir have been cleaned and filled with fresh sand and work on cleaning three more filter beds was on. He also allayed fears of poor quality of water from the fresh inflows saying that the filtering process has already begun at Himayatsagar and Osmansagar and the people will get only clean water.

He further said that the board was weighing the option of changing pipelines in areas where repeated complaints of pollution come from. We will see which is a better option, repairs of changing of pipelines. Whichever is the best option will be take up, he added.

Gopal, was speaking to reporters on the concluding day of a series of workshops for the water board staff on improving performance and quality of services.

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People's War to oppose Uranium project

The Times of India


August 25, 2003

HYDERABAD: Joining the NGOs chorus against the uranium mining project at Peddagattu and Lambapur villages in Nalgonda district, the People's War (PW) pledged to stop the project from becoming reality.

In an exclusive interview with The Times of India, a spokesman of the guerrilla group, Chandranna alias Malkapuram Bhaskar, secretary of the PW North Telangana Special Zonal Committee (NTSZC), said the project would affect about one lakh people in and around these two villages.

The hazards of uranium mining were already evident in Jharkhand, he said, adding that the PW would not let a similar fate befall the people of Andhra Pradesh. The hazards include health disorders like skin and lung cancer, silicosis, deformities and mental retardation in newborns, Bhaskar said.

The project would also affect the environment and wildlife in and around the Nagarjunasagar project. The problem of fluorosis was already endemic in Nalgonda district and the uranium project would only add to their woes. The project is being set up for the benefit of private investors at the cost of poor farmers.

"We will prevent the project from coming into existence at any cost" Bhaskar asserted. The state government has shut down several industrial units in Telangana including the Azam Jahi Mills and Nizam Sugar Factory units rendering thousands of people jobless, he said adding if the UCIL mining unit is established, it will leave thousands of people homeless and they will have to suffer health hazards like cancer. The state government should not permit such 'anti-people' projects.

The PW will not remain a silent spectator if the government is hellbent on destroying the lives of the poor, Bhaskar warned.

The PW had always opposed the entry of multi-national corporations and cola units into the country, the naxalite leader said hinting that his group would enforce a ban on sale of colas in the state. The Centre and the state governments have become agents of MNCs , he said.

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Greens oppose uranium mining in AP

Deccan Herald, August 24, 2003

From R Akhileshwari


The substantial deposits of uranium in Nalgonda district have pitted environmentalists against the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) which has been given permission to mine the deposits.

Environmentalists are putting up a strong fight against the proposed mining citing horrific consequences for public health, endangering the water sources, a national tiger reserve and the capital city of Hyderabad by exposing them to threats of radiation.

However, UCIL asserts the dangers are far less than portrayed by the environmentalists and which in any case, they will be minimised by the various safety measures it will take.

The controversy has seen the involvement of almost the entire spectrum of civil society: Environmentalists, concerned citizens, human rights activists, political parties, the high court, animal rights activists and even the naxalites.

The mining project has divided the people in the villages: Those supporting it hope to improve their lot by getting considerable compensation for lands taken over by the project and through several hundred unskilled jobs. They also welcome the scope for development of the area in terms of good roads, phone connectivity, better power, and so on.

Those opposing the project however fear the consequences of exposure to radiation and don't want the horrors of Jaduguda uranium project in Jharkhand to be repeated here. Deformities and death have become synonymous with uranium mining in Jaduguda which too is a project of UCIL for the past 30 years.

The opponents of the project, led by the Movement Against Uranium Project (MAUP) which is a coalition of various voluntary organisations point out that uranium mining in most countries has been the most hazardous step in the process of producing nuclear materials.

It has urged the UCIL to abandon its proposal to mine the radioactive ore failing which it has asked the state government to cancel the licence to UCIL to mine the deposits found in Lambapur-Peddagattu belt in Nalgonda district. "Andhra Pradesh can and must show the way by rejecting the proposal of UCIL," said Praful Bidwai of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament which is part of MAUP.

The Rs 315 crore project will cover 795 acres of land and will take 20 years to fully extract the deposits.

The mining will expose large populations to the hazards of radon gas that is released from the uranium mines and from tailings (waste ore left over after uranium extraction) pond which is to be spread over 150 acres.

The Nagarjunasagar dam which is barely four kms away from the mining site, receives storm water which can be contaminated with uranium particulate matter spread over the vast mining area and from contaminated underground water from the processing plant.

Air-borne radioactive dust from the mining site is likely to settle over the nearby Akkampalli reservoir which is under construction to supply drinking water from Krishna river to Hyderabad. There was also the danger of untreated radioactive tailings ending up in the catchment area of Akkampalli reservoir thus endangering the huge population of Hyderabad.

Besides, as per the UCIL proposal, mining will cover a large extent of the Rayaram reserve forest and an ore processing unit is to be set up near Mallapuram village just about 3 km from the Azmapuram reserve forest.

The Rajiv Gandhi Tiger Reserve is less than 6 km from the proposed mining area and the UCIL proposal violates the Indian Wildlife Act which prohibits intensive activity within 25 km of a notified sanctuary. The intense activity and environmental pollution would be "fatal" for the wildlife and forest cover, says MAUP.

UCIL however has assured that there was no danger of radioactive contamination or any adverse impact on public health. The topography around the area would prevent contamination of Nagarjunasagar and Akkampalli reservoir while the processing unit would be located beyond the buffer zone boundary of the tiger sanctuary, it said.

"All operations will be carried out with zero discharge concept. We have taken enough care to ensure that mining and processing activities will not cause any adverse impact on environment and public health," said UCIL chairman and Managing Director R Gupta.

However, former environment minister M Shashidhar Reddy who is leading a coalition of political parties opposing the project charged UCIL with misleading the people on all fronts including the impact on Jaduguda people's health and has urged it to put off the project till all doubts were cleared.

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TRS in two minds on Uranium mine

The Times of India


August 22, 2003

HYDERABAD: The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), a proponent of industrial development in the backward Telangana, is in a tight spot on the issue of proposed uranium project in Nalgonda district.

Two groups, one supporting the project while the other opposing it, are trying to influence the party leadership to take a stand in their favour. According to party sources, the group supporting the project was viewing it as an 'industry' and feels that would create more jobs for the locals.

The pro-project leaders are trying to convince the party leadership by saying a unit of such a magnitude would bring development in backward Nalgonda district, sources said.

Telangana Uranium Project Sadhana Samiti, though not affiliated to the TRS, has met party president K Chandrashekhar Rao recently and asked for his support in favour of the project, it is learnt.

On the other hand, some leaders of the TRS, who joined hands with a few non-governmental organisations have raised serious objections to the project citing that it would have adverse effect on the environment. They alleged that the supporters of the project lacked awareness about its implications.

"No person conscious of environment will like the project to be set up there. It would not be a boon but a bane for the region" a TRS leader said. "We would try to influence the party to our level best to oppose the project". he added.

Meanwhile, party insiders said that a committee would be appointed to look into the pros and cons of the project. The party is not in a hurry to take a stand to avoid criticism later. The issue is likely to come in the party's political affairs committee meeting on Friday.

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UCIL claims need review

The Times of India


August 21, 2003

Attention is now focussed on uranium mining across 500 acres surrounding Lambapur in Nalgonda district. The Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) has been given permission to mine and process uranium, the most radioactive substance.

India needs its own uranium for its defence programme and need to generate 4,000 MW of nuclear power by 2008 and 10,000 MW by 2010. This is imperative as all developed countries have decided not to sell India any uranium.

This Rs 500-cr project is frightening. On the one hand, it is 6 kms from the Rajiv Gandhi Tiger Sanctuary. The mining area is 4 kms from the Nagarjuna Sagar dam and the processing plant is 4 kms from the Akkampally Balancing Reservoir, being developed as the permanent water source for the twin cites. Both are at least 300 metres above the water bodies. The UCIL will be mining an astonishing 1,250 tonnes of uranium every day, for at least the next 20 years.

This means that there will be huge amounts of radioactive waste. Uranium has a half-life period of 80,000 years, when it is at its hazardous worst. The UCIL is mining uranium in three places in Jharkhand. And the total disaster it has created at one of the mines at Jaduguda raises doubts about UCIL's credentials to be responsible. This was evident on Tuesday too when they shamelessly attempted to hijack the environmental hearing at Lambapur.

My Congress colleague M Sashidhar Reddy organised a round table conference of political leaders, scientists, environmentalists and NGOs on August 16. He showed participants a video of Jaduguda. The fruits there have abnormal seed. People are developing illnesses resistant to known forms of cure. The deformities among children I cannot describe for fear of hurting readers' sensibilities. Yet, the UCIL is claiming that there would be no danger. This despite questions on how the waste would be dealt with, the quality of radioactive tailings and the relevance of tailing ponds. They rule out underground water contamination, claiming they will function on a zero discharge concept.

It would be foolish and criminal to take this at face value. It is precisely for this reason that the Meghalaya CM last month constituted a high-level committee to go into the full detail of a similar uranium project at Domiasiat, again taken up by UCIL.

Our CM is absolutely silent even a week after PCC president D Srinivas demanded an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.

The past has taught us that Chandrababu Naidu is like the deaf who don't listen, but invent well. Today, he is forewarned.

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Stir over proposed uranium plant in AP

NDTV, Sunil Patil

August 21, 2003 (Hyderabad):

Nearly 600 acres have been acquired for a proposed uranium processing plant between the villages of Duggyala and Mallapur in Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh. The Uranium Corporation of India is proposing to set up India's second uranium processing plant here at a total cost of Rs 500 crore. In this backward district, the proposal has been welcomed by many farmers. "If the factory is set up, we will get money for land as well as a means of livelihood," says Ramulu, farmer.

Objections raised However, many objections are being raised against the project, chief among them being its location, which is close to river Krishna. Fears are being expressed that inspite of safeguards proposed, contamination of air and water cannot be ruled out. On Tuesday, the public hearings held at two places in the project-affected area witnessed acrimonious scenes. The opposing sides presented their cases before the technical committee that will forward the views to the state pollution control board.

Huge discrepancies

Environmentalists say the Environmental Impact Assessment report of the project itself is full of discrepancies. "In any uranium mining activity, dangers are imminent. There is no way of avoiding it and particularly when the project is to be located abutting water - the water that is meant both for irrigation as well as drinking purposes for more than two crore people," says Dr Satyalakshmi, Movement Against Uranium Project.

However, UCIL claims there will be no pollution threat as most of the mining is done underground and officials say there will be zero discharge in the mine. "Whatever water will come out of mining will be pumped through the pipelines to the factory located about 18 kilometres away. And there it will be used after processing in the plant," says S D Prasad, Adviser, Uranium Corporation of India Limited.

Those opposed to the project are unhappy with the UCIL's answers on the impact of the project and are planning to go to the courts against the project.

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Mining by Uranium Corporation can lead to serious ailments: survey

August 21 2003 00:00 IST

HYDERABAD: Congenital deformities, tuberculosis, lung diseases and serious ailments will be a regular feature if the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) commences its mining and ore processing operations in the Nalgonda district if a survey conducted by a voluntary agency at Jaduguda in Jharkhand is any indication. The Gujarat-based Sampoorna Kranti Vidyalaya Vedchhi (SKVV) conducted the survey in two villages in the vicinity of Jaduguda (where a similar plant has been in operation for many years) and two other villages at a distant place from the plant. It was found that the number of infants born with genetic disorders was six times higher than normal due to the harmful radiation emitted by UCIL's operations for more than two decades. Of the 70 such cases reported, 60 were born with congenital deformities in villages close to the Uranium plant whereas 10 were born in non-affected areas. Moreover, 16 out of the 60 were mentally retarded compared to one in other areas. Cases of infants born with Polydactyl (extra fingers or toes) and synductyl (fused or missing fingers and toes) is also common in the affected areas. "By this, we can safely conclude that living in the vicinity of a Uranium mining and processing plant is an invitation to produce deformed children," Dr Surendra Gadekar of the Vedchhi, who was here to study the proposal to set up a Uranium mining unit in Nalgonda district, said. Similarly, out of the 107 Tuberculosis cases reported in the area, 50 cases were from the 591 persons working in the mines and the remaining 57 from the general population of 7,051. The survey said that while the incidence of the lung cancer and silicosis was high amongst the people engaged in mining and processing of Uranium ore all over the world, not a single case was reported in Jaduguda even though the incidence of Tuberculosis was high among the locals. "Wrong diagnosis helps the company since silicosis is a occupationally caused disease whereas Tuberculosis is not," Gadekar alleged. Company's Version: The UCIL officials, however, dismissed there allegations saying that the health and demographic studies conducted from time to time around the company's operating units have proved that there has been no adverse effect on the health of the residents in the vicinity of the plant. "We assure that the people of the four villages in P A Palli mandal of Nalgonda district will not suffer on account of the mining and processing operations," they said.

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NGOs may be kept out of U-hearing

The Times of India

19 August 2003

HYDERABAD/VIJAYAWADA: Trouble is brewing over the public hearing on the uranium mining project in Nalgonda on August 19. The Telangana Uranium Project Sadhana Samiti has decided not to allow any 'outsiders' (meaning NGOs) to participate. Over ten NGOs, including Greenpeace, are scheduled to be present during the hearing.

The Nalgonda police are officially expecting 'no trouble', but have deployed nearly 100 police personnel at Peddagattu in PA Pally mandal, one of the site where the hearing will be held. Following a high court directive, the public hearing will be held at Peddagattu and at Peddadisarlapally, the mandal headquarters.

As per the requirements of the Environmental Protection Act, collector R P Sisodia has nominated three elderly villagers to the public hearing panel: Ramavath Bhima Nayak, former sarpanch of Peddagattu; R Janiya Nayak from Mallapur village and Marram Krishnamurti of the Gudipally village.

Anveshi, Asmita, Blue Cross, Mines Minerals and PEOPLE, Forum for a Better Hyderabad, Confederation of Voluntary Associations, Jana Vignana Vedika, Human Rights Forum and Greenpeace are among the NGOs who will be present at the hearing.

Activists of the Movement Against Uranium Project 'an umbrella organisation of NGOs opposing the project' who have been in Peddagattu since the last two days, claim that except for a few villages, a majority of the population in the project-affected area is against the mining plant.

The NGOs' claim notwithstanding, the BJP has constituted a three-member expert committee to study the implications of the proposed plant.

The committee will submit its report by September 3 when the party state executive meets in Hyderabad. The panel would study the pros and cons of the proposed project, assess its impact on environment and all other related issues in the wake of growing opposition to its location.

The panel comprises two eminent environmental scientists and BJP Nalgonda unit president. The BJP would hold a 'chintan baithak' from August 27 to 29 followed by the two-day executive committee meeting on Sept. 3 and 4.

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Plea to stop uranium project work

The Hindu, Sunday, Southern States - Andhra Pradesh

August 17, 2003

By Our Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD - The controversy raging over the location of the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) uranium mine and mill in Nalgonda district, moved from the environmentalists' domain to the political arena on Saturday, with the Congress, the MIM, the CPI(M) and the CPI crying foul and demanding an all-party meeting on the issue.

Leaders of these parties alleged that the Andhra Pradesh Government had kept the project under wraps, maintained prolonged silence and was now rushing it through, without taking the people and political parties into confidence. They wanted that all works relating to the project be kept on hold, the environmental public hearing slated on August 19 postponed till an expert scientific committee studied health and environmental implications. They also decided to submit a memorandum to the Governor, S. S. Barnala.

The leaders were participating in a round table on "Dangers of the proposed uranium project," convened by M. Shashidhar Reddy, former Minister for Environment and chairman of the Forum for Utilisation of Godavari Waters. After seeing a documentary, `Buddha weeps at Jadugoda,' that highlighted the sufferings of the local people and employees of a similar uranium plant at Jadugoda in Jharkhand, all of them said: "It is frightening and an eye opener. If the suffering is so much the project needs to be reviewed thoroughly.''

The president of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee, D. Srinivas, said: "There are no two opinions about the dangers posed by the project to the people and the Government cannot shut its eyes.''

Describing it as a "serious issue," S. Sudhakar Reddy of the CPI said it was surprising that the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, should remain silent on such an important public issue and criticised the UCIL for using devious means to lure the local people. Y. V. Rao of the CPI (M) wondered for whose development was the project being set up and demanded postponement of the public hearing.

Asaduddin Owaisi, leader of the MIM group in Assembly, said it had become a habit with the Chief Minister to welcome whatever project came to the State, without realising its effect on the health of the people.

K. G. Kannabhiran, president of the People's Union of Civil Liberties, stressed on effective communication with local people and a look at their livelihood.

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UCIL report full of inconsistencies: MAUP

The Hindu, Southern States - Andhra Pradesh

By Our Special Correspondent

August 14, 2003

HYDERABAD - The Movement Against Uranium Project (MAUP), has termed "sketchy and full of inconsistencies'', the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report submitted by the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) on the proposed uranium mining and milling plant in Nalgonda district and debunked its contentions.

Referring to the UCIL's claim that there would be no impact on Nagarjunasagar, "due to almost impervious granite rock formation and meagre rainfall,'' the three convenors of the MAUP, K. Sathyalaxmi, R. Ravi and J. Rama Rao, said the general drainage of the uranium mining area at an elevation of more than 300 metres was towards Nagarjunasagar with maximum water level at 180 metres.

This apart, a number of ephemeral streams flowed down to Nagarjunasagar from the plateau region where the mine is planned to be located. The general direction of the sub surface water flow in the processing plant region was also towards Nagarjunasagar. Both these facts have been confirmed in the executive summary of the project submitted by the UCIL. This being the case, Nagarjunasagar is bound to be adversely affected owing to flow of storm water contaminated with uranium particulate matter spread over the vast mining area and from the contaminated underground water from the processing plant.

In its Environmental Public Hearing (EPH) notification, the UCIL mentioned that the contaminated rainwater tailing on waste and ore to be collected in the mine as 50 cubic metres per day maximum during monsoon. But it was not specified whether this quantity was from the underground or the opencast mine, which is going to be taken up first. The total opencast mining area at Lambapur being 148 acres, even one mm rain with 50 per cent runoff will result in a runoff of about 300 cubic metres, the convenors said. All this water will have to be transported to the Effluent Treatment Plant, 14 km away using a 9 kilolitre tanker as per the design. It means 33 trips for one mm rainfall. With such inadequate design, there is a real threat from contaminated rainwater run off. The UCIL claim of carrying out mining operations with zero discharge concept was "misleading''.

They described as "far reaching'' the UCIL's assertion that the dust levels will be contained. With hundreds of truck trips every day from the mine to the processing plant and huge storage of uranium tailings of four lakh tonnes per year of very fine particle size in the tailings pond, it is not possible to suppress all dust contamination. Some dust carryover cannot be prevented, with wind velocity being 30 km per hour and atmospheric turbulence. There is a possibility of radioactive dust settling on Akkampally reservoir irrespective of its elevation, on vegetation and its entry into food chain.

On the UCIL's claim that the concentration of radon gas coming out of the mine and tailings pond will be weak and subjected to further atmospheric diluted, they said if this is true, the US Congress would not have chosen to enact the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978 and amended it from time to time. Section 2 (a) of the Act stated that the Congress found that the uranium mill tailings located at active and inactive mill operations may pose a potential and significant radiation health hazard to the public.

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Environmentalists protest Andhra uranium project

August 6, 2003

By Mohammed Shafeeq, Indo-Asian News Service

Hyderabad - (IANS) As the rest of the world observed Hiroshima Day Wednesday, the day when atomic bombs landed on Japan to change the world for ever, environmentalists gathered here to protest a proposed uranium plant.

Environmentalists, who have got together to form a Movement Against Uranium Project (MAUP), are resisting the government's moves to set up a uranium mining and processing plant proposed by the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in Andhra Pradesh's Nalgonda district.

Comprising about a dozen environmentalists' groups and NGOs, MAUP activists staged a silent protest outside the UCIL here and demanded that the project be scrapped immediately.

Activists said the mining would lead to radon emissions and would affect Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Khammam. The exposure to the radioactive gas would result in genetic deformities in babies, the environmentalists said.

J. Rama Rao, who is leading the movement against the hydro-metallurgical plant, warned that it would turn Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu's dream of a "swarna" (golden) Andhra Pradesh into "smasana" (graveyard) Andhra Pradesh.

The environmentalists said the plant for uranium ore extraction and processing would be a disaster for the people of the district, already suffering from an unusually high incidence of fluorosis because of contaminated groundwater.

"We can't allow Nalgonda to turn into another Jaduguda," said Rao, referring to the country's biggest uranium mine in Jharkhand.

The mining of uranium ore for last three decades in Jaduguda has had a disastrous effect on people and environment there. Various environmental studies have shown that the radioactive dust carried by the wind has led to an increase in respiratory ailments, miscarriages, congenital deformities and cancer.

Besides, studies have also revealed that radioactive material had polluted surface and ground water, affecting crops and livestock.

The fear is that the same thing might be repeated in Andhra Pradesh if the UCIL is allowed to go ahead with its plans.

Activists said the wastewater from the mine would pollute the nearby Nagarjunasagar reservoir, which caters to the drinking water and irrigation needs of 25 million people in six districts.

They pointed out that the mining would also hit the Akampalli reservoir, which supplies drinking water to Hyderabad.

Besides endangering public health, the proposed plant would also pose a serious risk to the Rajiv Gandhi Tiger Sanctuary - the uranium mine is in the sanctuary's buffer zone.

About 430 hectares of the Yellapur Forest Reserve would also be affected by the proposed mining.

To fend off criticism, the UCIL has announced a public hearing on the issue in Peddagattu village in the area on August 19. The organisation would present its Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report to the people.

To counter the anti-uranium mining campaign, the UCIL recently took a group of villagers from Peddagattu to Jaduguda to show how the plant had brought prosperity to the area.

Following the visit, some unemployed youths have formed a committee to support the project, which they believe would provide them employment and usher socio-economic development.

The environmentalists' lobby is not convinced.

The UCIL argument that it would take all steps by using modern technology to control and minimise the impact of mining holds little water, they said.

According to Nagasena Reddy of MAUP, the effect of the radiation would last for 80,000 years.

"The project might only help in the production of nuclear weapons and nobody benefits by possessing these weapons," he said.

The state government gave its nod to the project last month after a technical committee visited Jaduguda and found that economic activity got a fillip after the plant was set up.

The government also claimed that radiation in the area was less than the permissible limits set by international bodies.

The UCIL estimates that the area has about 11.02 million tonnes of uranium reserves spread over 1,326 acres in Peddagattu and Yellapur villages.

It plans to invest Rs. 910 million on the uranium ore mining unit, which is estimated to generate 1,250 tonnes of ore daily for 20 to 25 years. Another Rs.3.15 billion would be spent on the processing unit.

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A select international bibliography on the Poisonous Experience of Uranium Mining

A select international bibliography on the Poisonous Experience of Uranium Mining

Uranium: Its Uses and Hazards IEER factsheet

Poison Fire, Sacred Earth: Testimonies, Lectures, Conclusions The World Uranium Hearing, Salzburg 1992

Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1999, ISBN 0-309-06292-6, 293 p

Ludlam, Scott. Nuclear India: A report on the No-Nukes Asia Forum 1999 / The Jaduguda Uranium Mine. Anti-Nuclear Alliance Western A., Australia, 2000 40 p.

Hallam, John R. "Friends of the Earth Submission on Uranium Mining to Industries Assistance Commission Inquiry Into Mineral and Mineral Processing, 'Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Uranium Mining in Australia'." 61 pp. FOE, Australia. Sept. 1990.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: 40 CFR Part 192 Groundwater Standards for Remedial Actions at Inactive Uranium Processing Sites; Final Rule. In: Federal Register Vol.60, No.7, Washington D.C. January 11, 1995, p.2854.

Norman,R E: Uranium production in Eastern Europe and its environmental impact: A literature survey.. ORNL/TM-12240, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 1993, 28 p.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: 10 CFR Part 40 Uranium Mill Tailings Regulations: Ground-Water Protection. In: Federal Register Vol.45, Washington D.C., October 3, 1980, p.65521.

Update of the Report from the Working Group on Eastern Europe, CIS and China, Issued January 1994, The Uranium Institute (Ed.), London 1994, 27 p.

Andel,Petr; Pribán,Václav: Planning for environmental restoration of contaminated sites of the uranium industry in the Czech Republic. Paper presented at the Piestany Workshop, Apr.94. IAEA (Ed.), Wien 1994, 27 p.

Tomásek,Ladislav; Darby,Sarah C; Swerdlow,Anthony J; Placek,Václav; Kunz,Emil: Radon exposure and cancers other than lung cancer among uranium miners in West Bohemia. In: The Lancet 341 (1993) April 10, p.919-923

Tomásek,L; Darby,S C; Fearn,T; Swerdlow,A J; Placek,V; Kunz,E: Patterns of lung cancer mortality among uranium miners in West Bohemia with varying rates of exposure to radon and its progeny. In: Radiation Research 137 (1994), p.251-261

Ghilea,S; Coroianu,A; Fekete,F: Environmental radioactive contamination caused by uranium ore mining in Romania. In: European Commission (Ed.), Proceedings International Symposium Remediation and Restoration of Radioactive-contaminated Sites in Europe, Antwerp, 11-15 October 1993, Vol.I, Radiation Protection - 74, Luxembourg 1994, p.143-151

Vapirev, E I; Dimitrov,M; Minev,L; Boshkova,T; Pressyanov,D S; Guelev,M G: Radioactive sites in Bulgaria contaminated with radium and uranium. In: European Commission (Ed.), Proceedings International Symposium Remediation and Restoration of Radioactive-contaminated Sites in Europe, Antwerp, 11-15 October 1993, Vol.II, Radiation Protection - 74, Luxembourg 1994, p.929-954

Karamushka,V P; Ostroborodov,V V: Rehabilitation of contaminated territories while liquidating enterprises of uranium mining industry of the CIS. In: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (Ed.), Environmental Remediation and Environmental Management Issues, Proceedings of the 1993 International Conference on Nuclear Waste Management and Environmental Remediation, Prague, Czech Republic, September 5-11, 1993, Vol.3, New York 1993, p.523-526

Belbéoch,Roger: Les risques de cancer chez les mineurs d'uranium français. Analyse des dernières publications des experts du CEA. In: Gazette Nucléaire (1993) 129/130, p.10-15

Bernhard,S; Kraemer,G; Zettwoog,P: La radioprotection dans les mines et usines de minerai d'uranium françaises. In: Radioprotection 26 (1991) 2, p.329-349

Bugarel,Jean-Louis: 45 000 000 tonnes de déchets radioactivs - Les dépôts de résidus de traitement d'uranium en France. In: Info Uranium, Rodez (1992) 55, p.1-36

Chameaud,Jean: Le risque radioactif et sa prévention dans les mines d'uranium de Cogéma. In: Industrie minérale - Mines et Carrières 68 (1986) Mai, p.295-300

Dossier d'information. Sites miniers COGEMA et stockages de résidus et stériles, Novembre 1991. Cogéma (Ed.), 1991, 98 p.

Etudes radioécologiques sur la division minière de la Crouzille. Site SIMO de Bessines, Sites de Montmassacrot, Bellezane et Puy-de-l'Age. Synthese. CRII-RAD (Ed.), Valence 1994, 15 p.

Donnadieu,Jean-Pierre; Pfiffelmann,Jean-Paul: Réamenagement des sites miniers de la Compagnie Française de Mokta en Lozère Filiale du Groupe Cogéma. Cogéma (Ed.), Vélizy-Villacoublay 1992, 17 p.

Pradel,J; Zettwoog,P: Hier et maintenant: la radioprotection dans les mines d'uranium / Yesterday and today: health physics in uranium mines [in French and English]. In: Revue Générale Nucléaire (1984) 1, p.38-57

Quarch,H; Kuhlmann,J; Daroussin,J L; Poyser,R W: International Developments in Uranium Mining and Mill Site Remediation. In: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (Ed.), Environmental Remediation and Environmental Management Issues, Proceedings of the 1993 International Conference on Nuclear Waste Management and Environmental Remediation, Prague, Czech Republic, September 5-11, 1993, Vol.3, New York 1993, p.461-471

Tirmarche,M; Raphalen,A; Allin,F; Chameaud,J; Bredon,P: Mortality of a cohort of French uranium miners exposed to relatively low radon concentrations. In: Br. J. Cancer 67 (1993), p.1090-1097

Caldwell,Jack A; Santiago,Juan L: Advances in Uranium Mill Tailings Closure: USA and Spanish Practice. In: International Society for Environmental Protection (Ed.), Proceedings of the 1990 ENVIROTECH Symposium, Vienna, Austria, September 20-25, 1990., Wien 1990, p.255-264

de la Fuente Martín,Pablo; Juan,Antonio Jiménez; Santiago,Juan Luis: Geotechnical Design of a stabilized Uranium Mill Tailings Pile in Spain (FUA). In: Felsbau 11 (1993) 3, p.141-147

Santiago,J L; Sanchez,M: Decommissioning and waste disposal methods for an uranium mill facility in Spain. In: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (Ed.), Environmental Remediation and Environmental Management Issues, Proceedings of the 1993 International Conference on Nuclear Waste Management and Environmental Remediation, Prague, Czech Republic, September 5-11, 1993, Vol.3, New York 1993, p.193-197

Santiago,J L: Remediation of inactive uranium mining and milling sites in Spain. In: European Commission (Ed.), Proceedings International Symposium Remediation and Restoration of Radioactive-contaminated Sites in Europe, Antwerp, 11-15 October 1993, Vol.II, Radiation Protection - 74, Luxembourg 1994, p.541-561

Sundblad,B; Stiglund,Y: The Restoration of the Uranium Mine of Ranstad, Sweden. Environmental impact, predictions and monitoring. In: European Commission (Ed.), Proceedings International Symposium Remediation and Restoration of Radioactive-contaminated Sites in Europe, Antwerp, 11-15 October 1993, Vol.II, Radiation Protection - 74, Luxembourg 1994, p.563-578

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Links some groups that campaign on hazards of uranium mining


Forum for Better Hyderabad (Contact: J Rama Rao)

Wildlife Protection Society of India (About the Nagarjunasagar Tiger Reserve)

SAMATA, No. 8-2-590/B, Road No.1, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad - 500033, A.P, (Contact: Ravi Rebbapragada) Fax: +91-40-3352488; Tel: 6637974 Email:

Lok Satta E-mail: website:

COVA 20-4-10, Charminar Bus Stand Hyderabad 500 002 Andhra Pradesh India Tel: (40) 457-4527 (40) 457-2984

Jana Vignana Vedika (Dr. V. Brahma Reddy) 6-3-609 / 24 / 1, Anand Nagar Colony, Khairatabad, Hyderabad - 500 004

Azad Reading Room House No 28, M V Foundation Road No 1 West Marredpally Secunderabad - 500026

Shriprakash Kritika, The director of Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda (a documentary film on the Jadugoda euranium mines in Bihar, India) email:

Mines, Minerals and People Campaigning network in India on mining issues, environment and human rights.

Greenpeace, J-15, Saket, New Delhi-11; email:


Mineral Policy Center (USA)

Mines and Communities (UK)

Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (USA)

WISE - World Information Service on Energy (Netherlands)

Uranium Research Group - Australia


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SOUTH ASIANS AGAINST NUKES (SAAN): An informal information platform for activists and scholars concerned about Nuclearisation in South Asia

SAAN Website:

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