DU country`s only radioactive polluter: AERB

Delhi University has earned the dubious distinction of being the country`s only violator of radioactive waste disposal norms, according to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.

Updated: Jun 20, 2010, 16:12 PM IST

New Delhi: Delhi University has earned the
dubious distinction of being the country`s only violator of
radioactive waste disposal norms, according to the Atomic
Energy Regulatory Board.

The AERB, which is responsible for regulating and
monitoring the safety of nuclear facilities and materials, said
that more than 800 organisations had approached it in last
five years for decommissioning nuclear material.

"There are no reported cases of disposal of radioactive
material violating the `Atomic Energy (safe disposal of
radioactive waste) Rules, 1987,` except the Gamma Cell which
was auctioned by Delhi University," the AERB said in an RTI
reply to applicant Abhishek Shukla, who sought the details of
such violators.

The infamous episode of auctioning the radioactive
material surfaced in April this year when eight scrap dealers
working in Delhi`s sprawling Mayapuri scrap market suffered
radiation exposure.

One person lost his life while remaining seven were in
serious condition because of bone marrow damage resulting from
radioactive radiation emitted by cobalt pencils of the gamma
cell, auctioned by the university.

The Board cited security concerns to withhold the names
of organisations decommissioning nuclear material from their
facilities.

It, however, said in most of the cases seeking
disposal of radioactive waste, the AERB had taken action
within seven days and issued export permission for imported
sources.

"For sources to be disposed of at the authorised
waste management agency in the country, AERB takes about one
month`s time to issue disposal permission since the
concurrence from the waste management agency is to be obtained
first," AERB Secretary Om Pal Singh said.

According to rules laid down for the disposal of
nuclear waste, the user has to provide details of the material
to be disposed of locally (in India) or to be exported (to
original supplier abroad).

These details are forwarded to the authorised waste
management agency for its concurrence and only after that does
the Board permit the user to transport the material to the
agency.

In case of the imported sources, AERB issues no
objection certificate to the user for the export of the
sources to the original supplier of the material. The user
then sends the material to original supplier or to the waste
management agency.

PTI