At the end of the nuclear dream may lie the terrible reality of human and environmental waste. As the department of atomic energy (dae) desperately digs for new sources of natural uranium in Andhra Pradesh, the costs could be enormous. Having left a trail of deformed children and unexplained deaths of miners in Jaduguda, Jharkhand, the nuclear establishment is all set to spread the radioactive threat to hundreds of villages in the southern state. That is the fear which currently stalks anti-nuclear and health activists. They even warn against the impact on the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
The Uranium Corporation of India Limited’s (UCIL’s) hydro-metallurgical plant in Nalgonda district has attracted the ire of environmentalists who say its proposed open-cast mine abuts the massive Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir. It is feared that radiation- and heavy metal-contaminated storm water run-off from the uranium mines would find its way into the reservoir. This is likely to impact the entire downstream of the Krishna river basin which caters to over six districts.