DR Ambedkar IAS Academy

Uranium Contamination

A report brought out by Duke University, USA in association with Central Ground Water Board and State Ground Water departments shows that there is prevalence of Uranium concentration above permissible limit in some of the localized pockets of few States/UTs in the country.

Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir have localized occurrence of Uranium concentration.

Limit in India

The Indian Standard IS 10500: 2012 for Drinking Water specification has specified the maximum acceptable limits for radioactive residues as alpha and beta emitters, values in excess of which render the water not suitable.

These requirements take into account all radioactive elements including uranium. No individual radioactive elements have been specifically identified.

As per Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), they are working to incorporate maximum permissible limit of Uranium as 0.03 mg/l (as per WHO provisional guidelines) in all drinking water standards after following due process.


Uranium is a heavy metal which has been used as an abundant source of concentrated energy for over 60 years.

It is a radioactive silvery metal.

Uranium occurs in most rocks in concentrations of 2 to 4 parts per million and is as common in the Earth’s crust as tin, tungsten and molybdenum.

Uranium occurs in seawater, and can be recovered from the oceans.

Uranium was apparently formed in supernovae about 6.6 billion years ago.

While it is not common in the solar system, today its slow radioactive decay provides the main source of heat inside the Earth, causing convection and continental drift.


Uranium is a very important element because it provides us with nuclear fuel used to generate electricity in nuclear power stations.

It is also the major material from which other synthetic Trans-uranium elements are made.

Uranium is also used by the military to power nuclear submarines and in nuclear weapons.

Depleted uranium is uranium that has much less uranium-235 than natural uranium. It is a dense metal that can be used as ballast for ships and counterweights for aircraft. It is also used in ammunition and armour.

As A Nuclear Fuel

Naturally occurring uranium consists of 99% uranium-238 and 1% uranium-235.

Uranium-235 is the only naturally occurring fissionable fuel (a fuel that can sustain a chain reaction).

Uranium fuel used in nuclear reactors is enriched with uranium-235.

The chain reaction is carefully controlled using neutron-absorbing materials.

The heat generated by the fuel is used to create steam to turn turbines and generate electrical power.

In a breeder reactor uranium-238 captures neutrons and undergoes negative beta decay to become plutonium-239. This synthetic, fissionable element can also sustain a chain reaction.

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