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Home > City Resources > Industrial >  Atomic Minerals Directorate


AMD head quartersThe highly protected, calm, serene campus of Atomic Minerals Division (AMD), situated on the busy Sardar Patel Road, Secunderabad, was open to public on the occasion of National Science Day on February 28. Hyderabad-best team visited the AMD campus to know more on AMD and the reasons for its high security.

As we entered the campus, we were greeted by a variety of exhibits showing the activities and achievements of AMD. The junior and senior scientific officers of the institute were busy explaining the visitors on Keen to knew about AMDtheir mode of work. "AMD, which stands for Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, was established in 1949 as 'Rare Mineral Survey Unit’ under the then Ministry of Natural Resources and Scientific Research which was subsequently transferred to Atomic Energy Commission and renamed as ‘Raw Materials Division’ with its headquarters at New Delhi. The Division was shifted to Hyderabad in 1974, and re-christened as Atomic Mineral Division, and was given Directorate status on July 29, 1998, when it stepped into its Golden Jubilee Year," explained Mr LS Reddy, a scientific officer at AMD.

Exploration and extraction processes AMD is entrusted with the task of finding resources of atomic minerals containing Uranium, Thorium, Niobium, Tantalum, Rare Earth Elements, Yttrium, Zirconium, Titanium, Beryllium and Lithium, which are vital to India's Nuclear Energy Programme. "For us the task begins with identification of target-terrains for surveys, which are selected by studying geological and structural maps, interpretation of high sensitivity airborne radiometric data on Uranium, Thorium and using photogeology and remote sensing techniques. The areas, thus selected are ground checked, in detail, with portable gamma-ray measuring instruments such as 'Scintillometer' and 'Geiger-Muller counter'. Geochemical and geophysical methods are employed to supplement these studies. Radioactive samples are collected in different stages of exploration and studied intensively in various well-equipped laboratories, established at six regional headquarters in addition to Hyderabad," explained Dr Balu, a Senior Scientific Officer at AMD.

Atomic minerals deposits map The primary objective of AMD is to locate adequate resources of Uranium and Thorium, AMD's mandate stretches into selection of sites for nuclear power reactors and repositories for long term storage of high level and long-lived radioactive waste. "AMD is playing a vital role in the country's economy and nuclear energy programme. The radioactive elements like Uranium and Thorium are used as nuclear fuels in reactors, Beryllium is a very light metal and it is widely used in Space shuttles and the Aeronautical industry," said a scientific officer. AMD has so far established 90,000 tonnes of Uranium Oxide. In addition to this, sizeable reserves of Monazite (6.5 million tonnes) which contains 0.59 million tonnes of Thorium oxide, Ilmenite (278 million tonnes) and Zircon (18 million tonnes) have been established in the beach and dune placers along the coastal tracts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and the inland placers of Ranchi district of Bihar, Purulia district of West Bengal and some parts in Tamil Nadu.

Apart from exploration and research, AMD is engaged in designing and fabrication of radiometric instruments, development of new analytical techniques for multi-elemental determination at trace and ultratrace levels and petromineragraphic characterisation and mineral benefaction (up to pilot-plant scale) of radioactive ores. AMD also provides guidance to private mine owners in mining and recovery of atomic minerals as byproducts, their procurement (at notified Govt. rates) and stockpiling for later use providing specialised analytical facilities and expertise to sister agencies, industry and educational research institutions and issue of monazite-test certificate for private exporters.

The search for the elements to sustain India's Nuclear Energy Programme is arduous, but AMD's motto is explicit - 'Those who search - find and we never rest on our laurels.'

Backdrop of National Science Day

Analytical facilitiesIndia has been celebrating February 28 as National Science Day since 1987 to commemorate the World famous Scientist and Nobel Laureate Sir Chandrashekhar Venkat Raman (CV Raman). On February 28, 1928, Sir C.V. Raman unveiled his famous theory of 'Raman Effect' which is also known as 'New Scattering Phenomenon of a Fundamental Character'. To commemorate the day and to encourage young scientists of the country, Government of India declared the day as the National Science Day. Along with AMD, other premier research institutes situated in Hyderabad like NGRI, CCMB, IICT and NIN celebrated the day by organising lectures and seminars on science-related subjects and exhibiting their achievements and activities.

Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration & Research, AMD Complex, Begumpet, Hyderabad - 500 016. Fax: 040-7762940


- Mohan G Jagan
Photographs: KP Devadasan

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