No radiation leak at Kaiga, workers safe: NPCIL

Last Updated: Monday, November 30, 2009 - 00:16

Mumbai: Maintaining that there was no
release of radioactivity in and outside the Kaiga Atomic Power
Plant, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India on Sunday said it is
only a drinking water cooler that was contaminated, which is
behind its workers suffering minor radiation exposure.

"Preliminary inquiry does not reveal any violation of
operating procedures or radioactivity releases or security
breach. It is possibly an act of mischief. The related
agencies are investigating," NPCIL Chairman and Managing
Director S K Jain said in a statement here.

About 50 employees working in Kaiga Atomic Power Plant in
Karwar district in North Karnataka suffered minor nuclear
radiation exposure after drinking contaminated water from the
water cooler in the premises of the plant.

Jain said all units of the plant are functioning normally
and none of its workers has been admitted to hospital.

"All plant systems are working normally and cannot cause
any contamination. The source of radiation contamination was
identified to be a water cooler located outside the reactor
building and has been isolated and put out of service," he

"No worker is hospitalised and all are carrying their
duties," Jain said.

While conceding that the contamination of water cooler
was a matter of concern and investigations were on, Jain said
"The contamination detected in this incident has been brought
down quickly and currently only one worker is close to the
limit specified by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board".

There are a number of measures for routine monitoring of
radiation uptake in workers in a nuclear power plant,
including routine urine sampling.

Any contamination caused by heavy water in the human body
is quickly flushed out through natural biological processes
like urination and perspiration.

"In this process, some samples indicated signs of
contamination. Resulting out of this observation on November
24, samples of all radiation workers were analysed," Jain

Kaiga has three units of 220 MW each of pressurised
heavy water reactor of which Unit 1 is under annual
maintenance shutdown since October 20.

"Unit 2 and 3 continue to operate normally," Jain said,
adding that the fourth unit also of 220 MW is almost ready for

The radiation workers of the plant are highly
experienced and access permits are routinely issued to all
personnel entering operating island, Jain said.

"NPCIL has very high level of safety compliance and the
limits of regulatory authorities are strictly complied with,"
Jain said.


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First Published: Monday, November 30, 2009 - 00:16

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