Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mayapuri scrap mkt still unsafe; 6 more 'hotspots' found

New Delhi, May 14 (UNI) Contrary to the claims made by the country's superior nuclear regulatory agencies that Mayapuri scrap market was radiation free now, six more harmful spots have been found in the area today.

In a survey conducted by the Greenpeace, a non-governmental environmental protection and conservation organisation, radiation experts have found six more ''hotspots'' which consist of particles of Cobalt-60, the harmful radioactive material, exposure to which took life of one and affected many others.

''A survey was conducted by our team today in the area around the shop where the radioactive source was first found. During the research done within the radius of 200 m, six spots have been found where the radiation level is much higher than an ambient dose rate,'' Karuna Raina, Greenpeace Nuclear campaigner, told
mediapersons here.

She said out of the six spots, two were most vulnerable where the radioactivity was almost 5000 times more than what a person can tolerate.

''According to regulations, a person can take in 0.1 micro Seivit per hour of radiation. However at these places it has been found up to 512 micro Seivit,'' Ms Raina explained.

She alleged that the stakeholders including Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and others had shown negligence in their working to decontaminate the area.

The ''hotspots'' have been marked by using either a tape or white cement by the research team. The initial reports have been submitted to the area SHO and AERB officials.

''We have requested them to decontaminate the area and take proper action at the earliest,'' Ms Raina said and added that the organisation would take up further task to survey more areas in the zone and the city only after receiving a positive response from the authorities concerned.

One of the radiation experts, Jan Vande Putte, who hails from Belgium, noted that the risk to be incurred at the spots will not be quick leading to any sudden diseases but ''it can lead to more harmful ones like Cancer in the long run.''

Moreover, if the spots will not be decontaminated now, then the affect of radiation will increase leading to more dangerous outcomes.

''It is a task of only few hours to clean and decontaminate these areas. It is basically the soil in these areas which consists of minute particles of harmful radioactive material,'' Mr Putte said.

He further explained that today's research was conducted using proper equipment namely Identifinder, Digital Gamma Spectrometer, RadAlert100 digital Geiger counter and Personal radiation Dosimeters.

''If the research team from the regulatory agencies would have used these instruments then they would have also found the spots,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the organisation also asserted that the amount of compensation promised to the affected people in the Mayapuri scrap incident was much less.

''The amount should have been much higher as far as the problem is concerned,'' they said.

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