"I am delighted to be amongst the fraternity of Department of Atomic Energy here in the office complex of Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), Hyderabad on the occasion of celebration to commemorate 70 glorious years of Exploration and Research activities.
As you all are aware, India’s abiding interest in nuclear energy grew out of a deep conviction that the power of atom can be harnessed to help the country to achieve human and societal development. India has consciously made a strategic choice to pursue a low-carbon growth model in the coming decades.
Following the vision and foresight of Dr.Homi J. Bhabha, Department of Atomic Energy has reached great heights since its inception and has taken giant leaps to attain self-reliance and self-sufficiency in atomic mineral resources for the country’s nuclear power programme. Considering the steep demand for power in the country, role of nuclear energy in future would be quite significant and we need to develop new and more efficient technologies to utilise our resources to the maximum.
Dear sisters and brothers,
Geo-resources are nature's gift bestowed upon a nation. The prosperity of a nation greatly depends on proper utilisation and exploitation of such resources. Human civilization has gone through various stages and has entered the Nuclear Age. During every stage of civilisation, exploitation of geo-resources has played a key role for its survival. New exploitation mechanisms have evolved with the transformation of civilisation. Minerals are vital raw materials for many basic industries and are major components for growth and industrial development. The management of mineral resources, hence, has to be closely integrated with the overall strategy for development of infrastructure to meet the national goals.
In India, AMD is the sole entity of Government of India, involved in exploration and augmentation of Atomic Mineral resources such as Uranium, Thorium, Niobium, Tantalum, Lithium, Beryllium and Rare Earth Elements.
I am aware that its activities are closely linked to different phases of nuclear fuel cycle of our country. In the front end of the fuel cycle, AMD shoulders the responsibility of survey and exploration for identification of atomic mineral deposits. I am told that it has also been entrusted with the responsibility of site selection for nuclear reactors. It is also supporting the DAE in choosing suitable geological repository sites for long-term disposal of radioactive waste in the back-end of fuel cycle.
I appreciate the efforts of AMD in adopting state of art exploration techniques in search of different strategic minerals. I am told that the exploration is being carried out by aerial and ground surveys and through subsurface drilling to augment the resources. I commend the dedicated efforts of geoscientists in carrying out surveys and exploration in remotest and inaccessible parts of the country.
Despite some challenges and constraints, the success story of team AMD is exemplary. It is heartening to know about the availability of more than 3 lakh tonnes of uranium oxide reserves and around 1200 million tonnes of Beach sand Mineral resources in our country. More significantly, the quantum leap in Uranium resource augmentation by AMD from around 1 lakh tonnes during first 60 years of activities and a subsequent addition of around 2 lakh tonnes in the next 10 years is really commendable.
AMD is also actively involved in facilitating exploitation of mineral resources by conducting exploratory mining. I am told that the stepped up exploration efforts in the environs of Cuddapah basin which is spread over both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Bhima basin in Karnataka and in other parts of the country are encouraging. I am sure that these dedicated efforts will lead to more uranium mines.
I am also informed that to cater to the needs of the Rare Metals (RM) in Nuclear Power Programme of India and to meet the growing requirement of Rare Earth Elements, AMD is carrying out exploitation of Rare Metals (RM) like Niobium, Tantalum, Lithium and beryllium and exploration for rare earth resources, based on indigenous technology and expertise.
Governed by their application in nuclear sciences, space research, defence, medical sciences, high tech industries and clean energy generation, there is steep rise in the global demand for Rare Metals and REE. Owing to their strategic nature, the rare metals are categorised among the prescribed substances under Atomic Energy Act, 1962.
I am told that China controls more than 95% of world’s supply of Rare Earth oxides. India is also involved in exploration of REE in parts of Siwana Ring Complex in Rajasthan and at Ambadongar in Gujarat. I am sure that huge beach sand mineral resources, potential hard rock, inland Rare Metal and REE resources are likely to contribute in the indigenous growth of Indian industries under the aegis of “Make in India”.
Dear sisters and brothers,
India is endowed with several favourable geological domains spread across length and breadth of the country which can host potential Uranium, Rare Metals and REE deposits. With advancements and modernization of exploration techniques, it would be possible to achieve self-sufficiency in atomic mineral resources for sustainable growth of our Nuclear Power Programme.
Further, the contribution of this department in other aspects of societal benefit is really praiseworthy. I guess not many people in the country are aware of the work that all of you do for using nuclear technology in the areas of healthcare, food and agriculture, water resources management and environmental protection.
The need of the hour is to ensure that modern technologies are safer and reliable. I am happy to note that considerable attention is being paid to make modern technologies safer.
Today, nuclear power is one of the reliable and safe energy options. It is considered to be safe, environmental friendly, sustainable, reliable and efficient source of electrical energy. I am glad that we have a commendable record of operating our nuclear fleet for over 40 years without any serious incident. I am sure that more safety features would be added with constant technological advancements.
Please note that climate change is one of the foremost environmental concerns today. Nuclear electricity is generated through very low carbon emitting technologies and can significantly reduce emission of Green House Gases. It has the potential to meet the ever-increasing demands of energy in the country, especially at time when we as a nation are making attempts to move beyond the polluting fossil fuels.
I am told that AMD regularly conducts public outreach programmes on its achievements as also to address the concerns of the people regarding nuclear energy, especially on possible environmental impact.
The main objective of every scientific achievement should be to improve the lives of the people by addressing the challenges the mankind is facing on different fronts.
To conclude, I would like to mention that while your achievements are commendable, there is no room for complacency. Nation building is a long-term and never-ending process and we have lot of challenges to overcome. In the 70th year of Exploration and Research activities of AMD, which also coincides with 150th birth anniversary of the father of the nation “Mahatma Gandhi”, I wish all success to AMD as well as DAE in achieving their goals.