- What is Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)?
- What is the Policy on Exploitation of Beach Sand Minerals?
What is (DAE)?
- Department of Atomic Energy
- An independent Department directly under the Prime Minister.
- Mind it: This dept doesn’t fall under any other ministry such as Ministry of Power, or Ministry of Science and Technology – this is an important fact for CSAT/APFC MCQs.
Policy on Exploitation of Beach Sand Minerals?
- Kerala and Orissa, the sands contain monazite, ilmenite, zircon, rutile, garnet and sillimanite.
- Mining and production of these minerals was reserved for the public sector
- but in 1998 policy changed to allow selective entry of the private sector.
- now, Private firms can extract and sell rare ores such as garnet and ilmenite from these sands but they cannot process or sell radioactive monazite leftovers. They’ve to store it at their own cost or fill it back in the mines.
- The beaches of Kerala and Orissa, hold 70+ % of India’s estimated monazite reserve of 18 million tonnes.
- Department of Atomic Energy, wants the Government to amend this policy- with a new provision that Private firms, should hand over these monazite leftovers to Indian Rare Earths (IREL) – which will then process it and try to extract thorium.
- And this thorium can be then used as fuel in the Nuclear reactors.
- A 300 MW nuke-reactor requires 50+ tonnes of fuel in its core initially and about 5 tonnes subsequently each year.
- Given the amount of thorium rich sand we’ve in Kerala and Orissa, we can provide continuous supply of fuel to our nuke-reactors for many years.
Donot get confused
- Monazite is a type of “Mineral” –> You extract Thorium (a type of “ELEMENT”) from it –> use Thorium as fuel to run your Adanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR).
- It is pretty easy for the examiner to twist these facts and come up with pretty MCQs.