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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Radiation leak source traced to Delhi University Chemistry lab

Radiation leak source traced to Delhi University Chemistry lab
The origin of radioactive Cobalt-60 found in west Delhi's Mayapuri has been traced to Delhi University's Chemistry Department where it was lying unused since the last 25 years. The radiation leak led to the death of one person.

The Cobalt-60 was in a "Gamma Irradiator", which was bought in 1968 from Canada and was not in use since 1985, police said on Wednesday adding it was bought by scrap dealers in Mayapuri through an auction in February this year.

"We have traced the radioactive material to Delhi University's Chemistry Department. One of the equipment the scrap dealers bought was Gamma Irradiator," Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range) Ajay Kashyap said.

The scrap dealers dismantled the equipment and in the process, the lead covering on it was peeled off leading to radiation exposure, Kashyap said.

"The equipment was in use till 1985 and after that it was lying in a room unused. In February, University committee decided to sellit and the Mayapuri scrap dealers bought it through auction," he said.

He said the four workers who are admitted to city hospitals were shown photographs of the equipment and one of them identified it.

Reacting on the development, Delhi University Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental said, "There has been negligence and I take full moral responsibility. We will set up a probe."

Panic gripped Mayapuri in the first week of April when 11 people were admitted to hospitals after they were exposed to radiation.

A worker in the scrap shop from where the Cobalt-60 was discovered has died due to exposure to radiation


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