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Uranium not meant for production of bombs: Mooshahary
Correspondent SHILLONG, OCT 8:
Published on 8 Oct. 2009 10:55 PM IST
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Backing the proposed open-cast mining of uranium, Meghalaya Governor RS Mooshahary today said that uranium to be mine in the state is not meant for production of nuclear weapons. “Some people think that the uranium is meant only for production of bombs, but India is committed to peaceful use nuclear programme, there is no question of developing weapons,” he said. Mooshahary was reacting to the arguments of anti-uranium mining groups uranium from the state could be used to make bombs at the Homi Jahangir Bhabha birth Centenary celebrations in Atomic Mineral Division, complex here. Urging the people of the state to support the proposed mining of uranium, the Governor said,“The government wanted to exploit uranium in the state not because that it is against the people, but for the development of the state and the country.” “The government at the Centre and the state are not enemies of the people and that’s why health and security has always been in the upper mind of the people,” he asserted. Allaying fears of health and environmental hazards, Mooshahary said, “There would be no changes in the level of radiation even after the mining operation starts. The radiation level in Meghalaya will be low and not as high as the radiation level in Iran.” Therefore, he said there is no basis that radiation will lead to health and environmental hazards. The proposed Kylleng-Pyndengsohiong-Mawthabah Uranium Project in state’s West Khasi Hills district has been hanging fire for three decades due to opposition from tribesmen of the state. Various groups, including political parties were opposing to mining of uranium fearing the health and environmental effects of the uranium projects. The UCIL had proposed to set up Rs 1,046 crore open-cast uranium mining and processing plant at Mawthabah, which has an estimated deposit of 9.22 million tonne of uranium ore. UCIL to fix date for mining With the Meghalaya government showing no signs of falling to the demands of pressure groups over the uranium issue, the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) would soon fix a target date to mine uranium in Meghalaya. “The pre-developmental activities in the proposed mining uranium areas has already started two-years with the construction of the approaching road to Mawthabah,” SK Malhotra, Spokesman of the Department of Atomic Energy, told reporters here. Before the full-fledged mining operations start, he said the UCIL would first develop all facilities in the surrounding areas of the proposed mining areas in state’s West Khasi Hills district. “We are waiting only for the No Objection Certificate from the Meghalaya government to grant us permission to start the long-pending project,” Malhotra said.

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