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Wed May 18 15:38:07 CDT 2011

Centre asked to act quickly on uranium contamination in Punjab
PTI | 04:09 PM,Sep 04,2011
New Delhi, Sep 4 (PTI) Expressing concern over the presence of uranium in
drinking water in Punjab, a Parliamentary panel has asked the Centre to take
remedial measures "without any loss of time" after it received a BARC report
on the matter. The Standing Committee on Rural Development, chaired by
Sumitra Mahajan, also asked the government to give a "clear cut mandate" to
the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre to submit its report in a "highly time
bound manner". Noting that uranium contamination has been reported in two
districts of Punjab, the panel said, "This is a very serious situation
warranting action on top priority basis." "Uranium, being a radio-active
substance, can cause incalculable damage to the health of human beings,
livestock, environment and bio-safety," said the nineteenth report on
demands for grants of the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation. "In
their initial assessment, the BARC has opined that there might be uranium
contamination," the panel noted in its report tabled in Parliament during
its current session. The Department had, thereafter, sanctioned Rs 3.50
crore to BARC to conduct a 100 per cent survey of the entire state, it said.
"The department intends to follow a similar policy for other places having
similar problems. The committee feels that this is a very serious situation
warranting action on top priority basis," it said.

I suspect this relates to naturally occurring uranium in groundwater, but
other articles relate the presence of uranium to coal-fired power stations:
"Experts claim that the ash ponds of the thermal plant were one of the
causes of contamination of ground water with a high uranium content."

Dan ii

Dan W McCarn, Geologist
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