Can you even imagine how much money 60 lakh crores is, this interesting article by Jaideep Prabhu which is brilliantly written focuses on the assumed thorium scam of the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India. It highlights the fact that such assumptions’ need to be reconsidered and talks about how the country has been assuming all these scams just because it is mildly related to the nuclear materials. This era being the era of scams, everything seems to be believable.
As mentioned in the article Tamil Nadu and Kerala are rich in several heavy minerals such as ilmenite, rutile, leucoxene, garnet, sillimanite, zircon and monazite which are used industries ranging from steel, electronics, ceramics and many more.
The industry research that Mr. Jaideep has conducted states that:
The four claims made by the thorium scam allegations were as follows:
1) A private company is exporting thorium-rich sand illegally
2) Between 2002 and 2012, some 2.1 million tonnes of monazite has gone missing, which amounts to approximately 235,000 tonnes of thorium
3) The monazite has not been returned by the private company to the DAE after mining for other minerals
4) Only a gentleman’s agreement requires the private company to inform the government about how much monazite they posses.
However, the Indian government denied private companies the permission to process the monazite for thorium or to export the mineral: only IREL would be allowed to do that, and, IREL exports barely five tonnes of monazite per annum.
As rightly said by Mr. Jaideep, “If India had 100% of its present energy output, about 200 GW, supplied entirely by thorium reactors, the amount alleged to have gone missing in the scam could power India at present rates for some 700 years.” Therefore we can conclude that the amount of thorium that has allegedly been exported – 235,000 tonnes – is quite simply nonsensical.