R&D input to extraction of uranium from different primary and secondary resources in India

Padmanabhan, N P H and Suri, A K and Ghosh, S K (2010) R&D input to extraction of uranium from different primary and secondary resources in India. In: Proceedings of the XI International Seminar on Mineral Processing Technology (MPT-2010), Dec 2010, NML Jamshedpur, India.

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In order to maintain a sustained and planned economic growth rate of 8% in the coming years and to meet the human development goals including eradication of poverty, India needs to increase her primary energy supply by 3 to 4 times and its electricity generation capacity by 5 to 6 times of the 2003–04 levels. All efforts are, therefore directed towards enhancing the electricity power generation and also the nuclear power component. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has launched a three stage nuclear power programme based on utilization of the country’s vast thorium resources to increase the nuclear power component significantly. In order to successfully go to second and third stages of the programme involving thorium utilization, India has to build and operate adequate number of nuclear power reactors of first stage. These are essentially the pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) burning natural uranium. The rising demand for uranium in the power reactors requires intensive exploration to look for more workable uranium ore deposits in the country and techno-economic process flow sheets for exploitation. The new deposits require new technologies, which need to be developed by sustained R&D efforts. At present the country’s uranium is produced at the two uranium mills located at Jaduguda and Turamdih, both in Dist. East Singhbhum, Jharkhand and operated by Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL). These plants use acid leaching technique to bring the uranium values into solution. Efforts are on to enhance the uranium supply by opening up uranium mines at Tummalapalle and Lambapur-Peddagattu (Andhra Pradesh), Gogi (Karnataka) and Kylleng-Pyndengsohiong-Mawthab (KPM) (Meghalaya). While Lambapur-Peddagattu and KPM uranium ores can be processed by the well-trodden acid leaching route, some of the other ores like the ones from Tummalapalle and Gogi need to be processed by alkaline leaching because of the preponderant presence of acid consuming carbonate minerals in the ore. Even though the Meghalaya ore is slated for acid leaching route, the technology to be followed is still to be finalized. Intensive R&D studies are being carried out in various laboratories of the Department on process development and techno-economic evaluation on these ores. A pilot plant has been set up by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) with the active collaboration of UCIL, Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to carry out large scale semi-continuous studies on various ores. Revival of gravity plants to recover uranium from copper ores/concentrator plant tailings is also being contemplated by UCIL. This paper presents and discusses the R&D effort by the Department in this direction and the salient features of the Pilot Plant and R&D studies carried out on different uranium ores.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Official URL/DOI:http://www.nmlindia.org
Uncontrolled Keywords:Uranium ore, Leaching, Acid leaching, Alkaline leaching, Process flow sheet.
Divisions:Mineral Processing
ID Code:2422
Deposited By:Dr. A K Sahu
Deposited On:28 Jan 2011 10:53
Last Modified:19 Aug 2015 14:41
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