Cobalt-60 source of radiation in west Delhi

Last Updated: Friday, April 9, 2010 - 11:20

New Delhi: Experts on Friday identified the material which led to a "very powerful" radiation in a west Delhi industrial area as Cobalt-60, the exposure to which left five persons injured including one seriously.

Scientists from the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Narora Atomic Power Station also scanned Mayapuri Industrial area this morning to examine whether there was any other source of a similar emission in the vicinity.

Panic was triggered in the locality last night after the news of a radiation leak broke out with five persons falling ill after coming in contact with a "mysterious shining object" in a scrap shop.

"The experts have identified the material as Cobalt-60. They have identified six sources of Cobalt-60 from the scrap shop," BB Bhattacharya, member of National Disaster
Management Authority and former Director of BARC, told a news agency.

Cobalt-60 is a radioactive isotope of cobalt, which is a hard, lustrous, grey metal. Cobalt-based colours and pigments have been used since ancient times for jewellery and
paints, and miners have long used the name kobold ore for some minerals.

Bhattacharjee said Cobalt-60 is used in fabrication work, specially for welding steel. It is also used in radiotherapy for treating cancer.

The experts, who first collected and isolated the mysterious shining object from the scrap shop in Mayapuri Industrial area in a sophisticated lid, had sent it for further investigations.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Sharad Aggarwal, experts visited the Mayapuri scrap market this morning also and scanned the area to check whether there
was any other source of radiation emission in the vicinity.

"The team had identified the source of radiation. They have collected the material and isolated it. They are examining it," Aggarwal told a news agency.

Bhattacharjee said the radiation was from a "very powerful source" as Deepak Jain, the scrap dealer undergoing treatment in Apollo Hospital, is in a serious condition.

After the news came to light last night, police cordoned off the area upto one km and did not allow people to enter the locality. There are around 200 scrap shops in the market.

Scientists from the Crisis Management Group of
Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Atomic Energy Regulation
Board had last night carried out the survey of the extent of
radiation in the area.

The incident came to light yesterday when Jain, the
scrap dealer who suffered serious burn injuries, was yesterday
rushed to Apollo Hospital which informed the government that
he had suffered radiation, officials said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, April 9, 2010 - 11:20

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