The Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) on Friday issued directions to the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) to check for uranium contamination in the state's Kadapa district. The APPCB's directions came after an expert committee formed by it visited Kadapa district last week to look into the complaints of groundwater pollution caused by the uranium mining and processing project of the UCIL at Tummalapalle.
"Based on the review and findings of the expert committee, APPCB issued directions to UCIL and will review the compliance of the directions periodically," said Vivek Yadav, Member Secretary, APPCB.
APPCB's external advisory committee, having experts of various fields including nuclear chemistry, reviewed the damage to the bore wells and crops due to discharge of process waste in the tailing pond, in and around Tumalapalle Project, Velpula, Medipentla and Kottala villages.
The panel was formed early this month to study the impact of storage of process waste slurry in the tailing pond on the ground water quality of the surroundings. It visited the plant and surrounding agriculture lands on September 9 and 10 and submitted its report on September 11.
The Board asked the UCIL to form an environment management committee headed by senior officials trained in environmental issues. It was also directed to provide impervious discharge channels or use hose pipes to prevent erosion of the abutments and consequent seepage.
The UCIL was asked to share historical records of groundwater levels and detailed water quality characteristics from all monitoring boreholes and surrounding villages, rise in tailing pond level since beginning of operations and associated increase in surface area, inflow and outflow characteristics of slurry to and from the tailings pond.
The Board directed UCIL to fence to secure the entire area with adequate display of cautionary boards to ensure safety of humans and livestock from undue exposure to hazardous materials.
The UCIL shall complete greenbelt development of 360 hectares in two years. It shall take up avenue plantation along both sides of haul roads with double row staggered system, the APPCB said.
The UCIL was also asked to develop rain water harvesting structures of adequate capacity at suitable locations. The Corporation will have to carry out health impact studies by dermatologist and radiologist due to release of radionuclides if any to the environment and take necessary action as required for their health.
The UCIL asked to expedite laying the pipelines from Chitravathi Balancing reservoir to provide water to all seven villages as committed during the meeting with Kadapa District Collector in July.
The UCIL shall file the requisition for land acquisition for 120 acres immediately as instructed during the meeting.