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Delhi: Two more sources of radiation detected

Source: PTI
April 14, 2010 13:25 IST
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Two more sources of radiation were detected in the Mayapuri scrap market in New Delhi on Tuesday, where Cobalt-60 was recovered recently, taking the total sources of radioactive substance found in the industrial area to ten. Eight sources of radioactive Cobalt-60 were detected last week while the two fresh cases of radiation were detected on Tuesday.

Seven persons were injured after getting exposed to the radioactive substance. Fresh radiation was detected by a team of experts from the Department of Atomic Energy which was conducting follow-up checks in the market, said S K Malhotra, public awareness officer of the DAE.

"Our team from the atomic minerals directorate unit was combing the area for possible radiation. We had gone there for a routine check when we detected higher than normal radiation levels in 500 metres of the shop, where radiation was detected earlier," he said.

"We detected two more sources of radiation on Tuesday night. However, radiation was much less in intensity this time compared to the one we detected last week," he said.

Experts were ascertaining the nature of the radioactive material. The shopkeeper had removed some metal from scrap which was the source of fresh radiation, he said. Soon after the radiation was detected, the national Disaster Management Authority and the National Disaster Response Force were alerted.

Panic was triggered in the locality last week after news of a radiation leak spread, and six persons fell ill after coming in contact with a 'mysterious shining object' in a scrap shop, later identified as Co-60.

A senior police official said the new source of radiation was detected 'quite far off' from the earlier site of radiation, which was a shop in Mayapuri owned by one Deepak Jain, who is in a serious condition in Apollo Hospital. Asked whether it was a lapse on part of experts who conducted searches last week, he answered in the negative, saying the new source of radiation was at least 500 metres from the shop where the radiation was detected earlier.

The official said there were no fresh cases of radiation-related illnesses in the national capital after the seventh patient was admitted on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the police remained clueless about the origin of the radioactive Cobalt-60 recovered from the scrap shop last week. Investigators are yet to receive any report from the Department of Atomic Energy regarding the Cobalt-60 that was recovered from the Mayapuri scrap market. Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Sharad Aggarwal said they were yet to make any headway in the probe as investigators could not speak to Jain.

Asked about reports tracing the origin of the radioactive material to foreign countries, he said these were mere speculations and they have not received any report from experts.

AERB experts, along with Department of Atomic Energy scientists, have safely removed eight bunches of metal scraps containing sources of Cobalt-60 radioactive isotope from the shop and transported the material to the Narora Atomic Power Station in Uttar Pradesh.

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