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Issues at Jaduguda Uranium Mine, Jharkhand, India

(last updated 8 Sep 2014)

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Mine: Jaduguda Mine (also spelled Jadugoda, Jadugora)
Location: Singhbhum area of the Jharkhand state (previously Bihar)
Owner: Uranium Corporation of India, Ltd. (UCIL)
Opposition: Jharkhand (India) Network external link · Jharkhandi Organisation Against Radiation (JOAR) external link

Current Issues

Mining at Jaduguda uranium mine stopped following ministry order; license expired in 2007

The Centre, following a Supreme Court order in May on amendment of Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, issued a directive to all mineral-rich states on July 12 asking them to stop mining by corporate entities under deemed extension. The state then ordered closure of the decades-old uranium mines. "We have served the notice to UCIL (Uranium Corporation of India) informing the company about the directive of the state government," said district mining officer Ratnesh Kumar Sinha.
"UCIL first got the licence for excavating Jadugora uranium mines (consisting of peripheral mines) in 1967 for 20 years and subsequently the licence was renewed (described as first renewal) in 1987 for another 20 years that expired in 2007. Since then, the company has been carrying out mining in the area under deemed extension," said sources in the company, who also confirmed receiving order from the state government. (Times of India Sep. 8, 2014)

 

Court orders Union Government to prepare report on radiation situation around Jaduguda uranium mine in Jharkhand

Jharkhand High Court today directed the Centre to constitute a technical committee of scientists and experts to examine the quantum of radiation due to uranium mining in Jadugora and sought a report within three months.
Uranium Corporation of India Limited, the company operating in the area in East Singhbhum, told a division bench of Chief Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Amitav Kumar Gupta that there was no radiation in the area as mining was done within set parameters. However, the bench, which was hearing a PIL initiated by the court suo motu based on a news report published in an English daily, was not convinced. (The Telegraph Aug. 8, 2014)

 

Union Government to commission study on health impacts of Jaduguda uranium mine in surrounding villages

Planning Commission external link member K Kasturirangan on Monday (May 5) said that he will send a team of atomic energy researchers to Jharkhand to study the effects of radiation believed to be the cause of several children being born with congenital disability in some parts of the state. The issue was brought to the notice of a Planning Commission team by chief minister Hemant Soren, who described Jharkhand as the worst sufferer of the after-affects of mining activities.
Soren said, "Children in many villages close to the uranium-bearing Jadugoda region are born with congenital disability, which is a matter of grave concern for the state." He also highlighted other adverse effects of mining - displacement, damage to the environment, long-term effect on livelihood of the locals in absence of a proper compensation policy and contamination of underground water sources. (Times of India May 6, 2014)

 

Tailings backfill significantly increases radon emanation into mine atmosphere of Jaduguda uranium mine

"This paper presents a comparative study of 222Rn emanation from the ore and backfill tailings in an underground uranium mine located at Jaduguda, India. The effects of surface area, porosity, 226Ra and moisture contents on 222Rn emanation rate were examined. The study revealed that the bulk porosity of backfill tailings is more than two orders of magnitude than that of the ore. [...] For normalised 226Ra content, the 222Rn emanation rate from tailings was found to be 283 times higher than the ore due to higher bulk porosity and surface area. [...]
The study suggested that the mill tailings used as a backfill material significantly contributes to radon emanation as compared to the ore body itself and the 226Ra content and bulk porosity are the dominant factors for radon emanation into the mine atmosphere."
Mishra DP, Sahu P, Panigrahi DC, et al.: Assessment of Rn emanation from ore body and backfill tailings in low-grade underground uranium mine, in: Environmental Science and Pollution Research International, ahead of print, Sep 21, 2013

 

More uranium deposits found near Jaduguda mine in Jharkhand

Deposits of uranium were recently discovered at a place between Jadugora and Narwapahar mine areas in Jharkhand's East Singhbhum district, an official of Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) said today. "We have recently detected rich deposits of uranium between our existing uranium mines at Jadugora and Narwapahar, (about 15 km from Jamshedpur)," Pinaki Roy, Executive Director (Project East) and Corporate Communication, UCIL said. Roy added: "The findings will certainly expand the life of country's first uranium mine in Jadugora (established in 1967 at about 23 km from Jamshedpur), by at least five to six years. The finding was made in the vicinity of mines in operation." The UCIL has seven uranium mines - Jadugora, Bhatin, Turamdih, Bagjata, Narwapahar, Banduhurang and Mahuldih - in operation in Jharkhand, with production in Bhatin recently being stopped due to some development work in the mine, UCIL sources said. (The Hindu July 26, 2013)

 

Uranium concentrations in drinking water near Jaduguda uranium mine meet U.S. EPA standard

"In this study, occurrence of uranium in drinking water samples from locations near the uranium mining site at Jaduguda, India, was studied by Laser-induced fluorimetry. Uranium concentrations range from 0.03 ± 0.01 to 11.6 ± 1.3 g l-l, being well within the US Environmental Protection Agency drinking water limit of 30 g l-1."
Age-dependent dose and health risk due to intake of uranium in drinking water from Jaduguda, India, by Patra AC, Mohapatra S, Sahoo SK, et al., in: Radiation Protection Dosimetry, aheadofprint, March 22, 2013

 

UCIL plans expansion of Jadugoda and Narwapahar uranium mines (Jharkhand)

Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) has decided to extend Jadugoda and Narwapahar mines in East Singhbhum district. UCIL is carrying out data collection, analysis and interpretation to expand mining activities through intensive drilling and other methods. (The Telegraph Jan. 19, 2013)

 

Truck with uranium damaged in accident

A trailer carrying a container loaded with uranium ore [presumably meant: uranium ore concentrate] was partially damaged after it collided with a vehicle on NH 16 near Kambakaya junction of Narasannapet village. The ore was being shipped from the Jadu-goda mines in Jharkhand to the Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad.
It is not clear whether any uranium ore had leaked from the container. Officials from the Department of Atomic Energy are assessing the environmental impact of any leakage. Following the mishap, traffic on the highway was stopped for about three hours. The police cordoned off the area as a precautionary measure. The container was later moved from the spot. No one was injured in the mishap.
Incidentally, this place had witnessed a similar accident about four years ago, on July 25, 2007, when a container carrying radioactive yellow cake overturned while avoiding an on-coming vehicle. (Deccan Chronicle Oct. 25, 2011)

 

UCIL seeks assistance against protests from people displaced for Jaduguda mine

The Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL), Jadugora, has urged the district administration to enhance security at its establishment premises. In wake of frequent demonstrations by displaced people seeking compensation in the form of job and financial aid, the UCIL management recently approached the district administration and sought safety and security help. In its letter to the district administration, the UCIL sought safety and security from agitators, who mostly comprise displaced people. The agitators often stage dharnas [method of seeking justice by sitting at the door of one's debtor or wrongdoer and fasting until justice is obtained] and demand job and cash compensation from time to time. (Times of India June 19, 2010)

 

UCIL served notice for illegally drawing river water at Jaduguda uranium mine

The Government of Jharkhand has slapped a 15-day deadline on as many as 12 industrial houses, mining units and educational institution to clear their outstanding dues for water usage or face the disconnection. The companies served notices for paying up their dues include Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL), among others. UCIL owed Rs 14.2 million [US$ 311,000]. Taking serious exception to the withdrawal of water from rivers without any approval, the Water Resources Department has directed UCIL [and others] to enter into agreement with the state at the earliest. (iGovernment Mar. 10, 2010)

 

General strike in support of Jaduguda uranium mine workers

A dawn-to-dusk general strike called by the four striking labour unions of the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) at Jadugora, about 25 km from here, today evoked total and spontaneous response. The general strike was called by the Jadugora Labour Union (JLU), Uranium Kamgar Union (UKU), Uranium Mazdoor Sangh and Singhbhum Uranium Mazdoor Union (SUMU), on the 14th day of their ongoing indefinite strike in support of their demand for wage revision, which was due since April, 2008.
The general strike, was total and spontaneous as all the shops and markets, road traffic were badly hit during the general strike, which was being observed in all localities of UCILs six units in and around Jadugora, claimed Pradip Kumar Bhagat, General Secretary of SUMU, said. Official sources said no untoward incident was reported from any part of the Jadugora as the general strike was peaceful. (PTI Oct. 21, 2009)

 

Strike halts production at Jaduguda uranium mine for 23 days

Production at Jadugora-based Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) came to a grinding halt today (Oct. 8) as over 4,000 workers went on an indefinite strike, demanding wage revision. Workers of the six mines - Jadugora, Narwah, Turamdih, Bhatin, Mohuldih and Bagjata - also joined the strike, which completely paralysed mining activity. (The Telegraph Oct. 8, 2009)
Production in the public sector Uranium Corporation of India Limited resumed today (Oct. 31) following an agreement between the management and the striking unions over wage revision. Production in all the six units of UCIL was totally affected by the indefinite strike for the last 23 days. (PTI Oct. 31, 2009)

 

Protests at public hearing on license renewal for Jaduguda uranium mining lease

Silencing anti-radiation activists, a public hearing on environmental clearance to the proposed lease renewal and expansion plan of the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) at Jadugoda went off without any major disturbance today (May 26). The hearing - held for renewing the lease of UCIL's Jadugoda mines and providing the required clearance for usage of 6.3 hectare of forestland for its expansion programme - witnessed tensed moments as anti-radiation groups and pro-UCIL villagers tried to put forth their points. Apprehending clashes, the administration had made tight security arrangements on the UCIL premises.
Tension erupted when a group of around 50 activists led by the Jharkhandi Organisation Against Radiation (Joar), an NGO, entered the tent. Carrying anti-radiation banners, the activists started shouting slogans against UCIL. Retaliating, the pro-company people also started raising slogans in favour of UCIL's expansion plan. Soon, the pro-company supporters, who clearly outnumbered the anti-radiation activists, surrounded the latter and forced them leave the site. Security personnel also asked the Joar activists not to enter the tent with their banners. (The Telegraph May 27, 2009)

 

Expansion plans for Jaduguda uranium mill and tailings dam kept dark

UCIL apparently plans to increase the ore processing capacity of the Jaduguda uranium mill from 2090 to 2500 tonnes per day and to expand the tailings dam stage three by 6.37 hectares. Neither an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) nor an environmental management plant (EMP) have been circulated so far. However, there are rumors that a public hearing would be held on May 26, 2009. (The Pioneer/JOAR May 8, 2009)

 

Spill from new tailings pipeline burst reaches homes at Jaduguda, again

On Aug. 16, 2008, a new tailings pipeline burst near Jaduguda caused a uranium mill tailings spill that reached nearby homes. (JOAR Aug. 17, 2008)
The management of the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) has agreed to rehabilitate the 26 families affected by the radioactive waste that spewed in Dungridih under Jadugoda police station, recently. The UCIL has also proposed a modern village in its leasehold area, besides providing the villagers with other facilities. (The Pioneer Aug. 19, 2008)

 

Uranium mill tailings spillover during flash floods at Jadugoda

During flash floods in June 2008, radioactive uranium waste dumped into a tailing pond of Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) in Jadugoda of Jamshedpur reportedly spilled over into nearby village ponds, wells and fields, and destroyed crops as well.
While UCIL authorities admit that radioactive waste is flowing into villages, they maintain that it would not pose any health threats to villagers. "We are monitoring the situation. Our scientists are taking samples from villages," P.V. Dubey, UCIL spokesperson had told IANS in June 2008. "There will be no negative impact on human beings. The waste has been neutralised by the large amount of water," he added. [!]
Residents of nearby villages have stopped using water from their ponds and wells, fearing health problems. Villagers have also complained that the nuclear waste had destroyed a large amount of crops. "The waste that spilled from the tailing pond has destroyed our crops. If this continues, there might not be any crops in the coming years," said Kannhu Murmu of Tilaitand village. Some experts also feel that the radioactive waste would also have a harmful impact on the soil. "The waste will get mixed with soil and in the long run would pose health-related problems to both human beings and animals," said Nitish Priyadarshi, a geologist here.
Jharkhand will soon [!] send a team of experts to villages located near the UCIL site to assess possible effects of radiation. (IANS/New Kerala July 8, 2008)

 

Spill from new tailings pipeline burst reaches homes at Jaduguda

On Feb. 21, 2008, a new tailings pipeline burst near Jaduguda caused a uranium mill tailings spill that reached nearby homes. (JOAR Mar. 20, 2008)
According to UCIL, the spill comprised about 40 cubic metres of liquid. (UCIL letter April 29, 2008)

> View photos

 

Survey finds excess deformities and cancer near Jadugoda uranium mine

In a shocking revelation, the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) external link has come out with some bare truths regarding health hazards faced by miners working in the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in the form of a detailed survey report. The survey was undertaken by the organisation affiliated to Germany-based International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in association with Jharkhandi Organisation Against Radiation (JOAR).
"The study was conducted between May and August 2007," said Shakeel Ur Rahman, the secretary of the national council of the association. Conducted in two different phases, while one survey concentrates on villages within the radius of 2.5 km from the mines, a similar one was undertaken in villages about 30 km from the mining areas. A total of 2,118 households in the first category, while another 1,956 households were studied in the second category.
According to the survey, more children - about 9.5 per cent of the newborns - are dying each year due to extreme physical deformity, primary sterility is becoming common with 9.6 per cent of women not being able to conceive even three years after marriage. Cancer deaths in nearby villages are about 2.87 per cent and 68.33 per cent people are dying before the age of 62. (The Telegraph March 2, 2008)

 

Delay in commissioning of Jaduguda mill expansion leads to further fuel shortage at India's nuclear power plants

> See here

 

Jaduguda uranium mill capacity increased by 74%

The capacity of UCIL's uranium ore processing plant at Jadugora, inaugurated in 1967, was increased to 2,090 tons per day from the initial 1,200 tons, UCIL sources said. (Times of India, June 25, 2007)

 

Tailings pipeline bursts at Jaduguda

On Apr. 10, 2007, a new tailings pipeline burst near Jaduguda caused a uranium mill tailings spill. According to UCIL, the spill was caused from damage to the rubber lining of the tailings pipeline "by a wooden log left inside the pipe during replacement", and comprised 1.5 tons of solids and 20 cubic metres of liquid; the spilled material was contained within the earthen bund constructed beside the channel and did not reach any water body or public domain. (UCIL letter April 29, 2008)

 

Tailings pipeline bursts at Jaduguda

On December 25, 2006, the tailings pipeline carrying uranium mill tailings from the Jaduguda uranium mill to tailings dam No. 3 broke, spreading tailings into a tributary of river Subranarekha. JOAR along with villagers held a road blockade to protest against the spill. UCIL then started cleaning up the tailings spill. (JOAR Dec. 26, 2006)
On Feb. 17, 2007, two NGOs - Friends of South Asia (FOSA) external link and Association for India's Development (AID) external link - submitted a petition to the UCIL and the Department of Atomic Energy demanding an investigation into the accident and seeking full remediation. The petition was signed by hundreds of individuals from around the world.
> View details external link (JOAR)
According to UCIL, the spill was caused from damage of the rubber lining and metal of the tailings pipeline "due to prolonged use", and comprised 6-8 tons of solids and 60 cubic metres of liquid. (UCIL letter April 29, 2008)

> View photo

 

Miners stage strike inside Jadugora mine

Demanding a raise in their wages, over 225 miners of the Uranium Corporation of India Limited struck work and refused to come out of the Jadugora mine near Jamshedpur, for the second consecutive day on Saturday [Aug. 27, 2005]. The miners, who went inside the mine in the first shift on Friday, did not come out. Dewatering in the mine has also been stopped, UNCIL sources said in Jamshedpur on Saturday. The workers are demanding a 20 per cent hike in their pay-scale against the management's 10 per cent hike proposal, the Singhbhum Uranium Mazdoor Union said. (PTI Aug. 27, 2005)
According to a UCIL official, 271 workers of Jadugoda mines on the morning shift, entered the pits at 7 a.m. on Friday and after descending to a depth of 555 metres, refused to come out. As the news spread, around 70 workers of the neighbouring Bhating mines followed suit. Soon after, miners of UCIL's Narwapahar, Tuamdih and Bandhuharang pits also stopped working. With mill workers joining hands with them, around 4,500 UCIL employees are currently on strike. (The Statesman Aug. 28, 2005)
After risking their lives inside the uranium mines for 65 hours, altogether 301 miners of the Jadugora and Bhatin mines agreed to come over ground only to get a hike of Rs 144. (Ranchi Express Aug. 29, 2005)

 

UCIL claims to comply with environmental norms

Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) has claimed that the company adheres strictly to global standards in maintaining safety and concern for environment. The company has been awarded, among others, ISO-14001 certification for an environmental management system by a quality environment auditing company, M/s TÜV of Germany.
"The release also mentions that eminent doctors from TMH [Tata Memorial Hospital Mumbai], UCIL and radiological experts from BARC [Bhabha Atomic Research Centre] have already conducted a survey in 1998. The experts found that congenial limb anomalies were due to genetic disorders and gross malnutrition.
All the experts arrived at a unanimous opinion that the diseases could not be ascribed to radiation exposure. Even radiological exposure in the tailing ponds was negligible as the waste had very low level of activity concentration. There was also no question of human beings moving or cattle grazing on the ponds since they are heavily guarded by the CISF [Central Industrial Security Force], the release added. " (Times of India Dec. 22, 2004)

 

Independent radiation monitoring performed at Jadugoda uranium mine site

In 2001 and 2002, Hiroaki Koide from the Research Reactor Institute at Kyoto University performed field trips to monitor environmental impacts of the Jadugoda uranium mine. He monitored external gamma dose rate, radionuclide concentrations in soil, and radon concentration in air. His results are compiled in a report available for download. The main conclusions are:

Radioactive contamination around Jadugoda uranium mine in India, by Hiroaki Koide, April 27, 2004
> Download full report (478k PDF - posted with permission)

> View Hiroaki Koide's Jadugoda page external link

 

Supreme Court of India dismisses case on impacts of Jadugoda uranium mine

On April 15, 2004, the Supreme Court of India dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the hazardous impact of the uranium waste disposal by the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) at Jadugoda, East Singbhum District of Jharkhand. (JOAR)

 

Nuclear power plant at Jaduguda?

The Government of India has agreed to Jharkhand's proposal to set up a minor nuclear power plant in the state at an estimated cost of Rs 5 billion (US$ 108 million). Jadugoda in the East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand was the most likely site and construction will take six years.
The Union government has directed the state to identify at least five sites suitable for the proposed project. The list of sites submitted by the state would be evaluated by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). Details on cost and capacity of the project were yet to be decided and would be finalised only after consultation with AEC. (Business Standard, New Delhi, July 9, 2003)

 

Committee finds no problems in Jaduguda

The technical committee advising the government on the Lambapur-Peddagattu uranium mine project in Andhra Pradesh recently visited Jaduguda. The committee, headed by mines and geology director T Devendranath, surveyed the environmental impact of the Jaduguda mine on the local residents and submitted a report to the government.
According to sources, the committee comprising representatives of pollution control board, industries wing and a retired atomic energy expert, noted that radioactive radiations were less than the permissible limits in Jaduguda. It also found that economic activity got a boost in Jaduguda after the UCIL set up the plant in the area. (Times of India May 22, 2003)

 

Supreme Court admits petition on Jaduguda uranium mine pollution

On Sep 4, 2000, the Indian Supreme Court admitted a petition seeking direction to the Centre and the Uranium Corporation Limited (UCIL) to take stringent measures at the Jaduguda Uranium Mines in Bihar in the wake of alarming reports that villagers were affected by the radiation from mines. (The Hindu, Sep 5, 2000)

 

Citizen group calls for health study and remedial action

During a press conference held on April 5, 2000, the Jharkhand's Organisation Against Radiation (J.O.A.R) presented the following demands to the Government of India (main points only):
  1. A multi-diciplinary team comprising of Medical personal, Radiologist, Ecologist, Sociologist, Chemist, Biologist etc from independent institutions i.e. All India Institute of Medical Science AIIMS New Delhi, should be constituted to look into the impact of the uranium mining operations (low-level radiation) on the environmental, health, safety and socio-economy of Jadugora area.

  2. The import of radioactive waste/material and radio-medical waste into Jadugora for dumping/storage or in the guise of recycling or further extraction should be STOPPED IMMEDIATELY.

  3. All the villages around the already existing tailing dams/ponds should be immediately evacuated to a safer place until proper and permanent rehabilitation is done.

  4. The DAE, BARC and UCIL should set up a full fledged Medical Centre in or around Jadugora with medical personnel qualified to treat low level radiation related diseases, its function should be supervised by AIIMS.

  5. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board AERB, should be made autonomous from the Department of Atomic Energy, according to International norms.

 

Supreme Court issues notice on Jaduguda uranium mine pollution

On Aug 30, 1999, the Indian Supreme Court issued notice to the Union Government and three others on a public interest petition seeking a direction to take immediate steps to insulate people living in the vicinity of the Jaduguda uranium mine in Bihar from the hazards of untreated effluents and pollution of uranium mining.
The other respondents to whom notices were issued were the Uranium Corporation of India; the Atomic Energy Commission and the Deputy Commissioner, Singhbum district, Bihar. (The Hindu, Indian Express, Aug 31, 1999)

 


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