Villages around Tummalapalle uranium mines hit by water, soil pollution

by Syed Akbar, originally posted on December 3, 2016


HYDERABAD: The quality of water in uranium-rich Tummalapalle and surrounding villages in Kadapa district has deteriorated with high levels of heavy and trace metals. Researchers suggest that the state government should immediately initiate remedial measures to prevent further deterioration of the environment.

Tummalapalle hosts one of the largest uranium reserves in the world. The quality of uranium obtained from Tummalapalle mines is also rated as high. The reserves are sufficient to meet the energy needs of the country for many decades.

Incidentally, it is the only operational uranium mine of the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in South India. Researchers have found that wind and rain are responsible for the spread of the contamination from the mining area to other localities in the region.

The quality of water and soil in the region has suffered heavily over the years due to geological and human reasons. While little can be done with regard to geological reasons, further deterioration of soil and water can be achieved through control of anthropogenic activities.

Researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University-Anantapur and its affiliated JNTUA College of Engineering at Pulivendula, analysed samples of water and soil collected from Mabbuchintalapalle, Tummalapalle, Rajakuntapalle, Bhomaiahgaripalle, and V Kota villages to find out the extent of deterioration. They detected heavy and trace metals like barium, cobalt, chromium, copper, molybdenum, nickel, lead, rubidium, strontium, vanadium, yttrium, zinc, and zirconium.

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