DUTA demands probe into radioactive element misplaced from Chemistry Department

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New Delhi, Apr 29 (ANI): Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) members are protesting outside the office of the Vice Chancellor here on Thursday demanding a probe as the university is under scanner for the radioactive Cobalt-60 that was found in West Delhi's scrap market has been traced to its Chemistry Department

Delhi University Vice Chancellor Dr Deepak Pental on Wednesday night admitted there had been 'negligence' as the radioactive substance found its way out of the university's Chemistry Department to a scrap market in Mayapuri industrial area.

"We have to go into it and inquire into this-in a very systematic method to find out where was the negligence, when the source (of radioactive substance) brought, with whose permission the source was bought and who was using it," said Dr Pental.

"The police came to the university but they didn't come to see me, to inform me about what has happened. I am not fully in picture of what exactly happened," he added.

Dr Deepak Pental, however, told a leading private television channel that an in-depth investigation would be carried out on the matter.

"If the waste came from our university, then we should be responsible about what we are doing and how we are disposing our material. I have spoken to the Head of the Chemistry Department," said Dr Pental.

"We will conduct in depth investigation from our side about how this negligence has occurred," he added.

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has taken the matter very seriously and has said the university can be penalised for violating the rules and for carelessly discarding radioactive material.

Shocked at DU's act, the board said it was careless attitude on the part of the prestigious university and that it violated specific rules for handling Cobalt 60.

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has asked DU to explain the reason for not declaring the source of this Cobalt 60.

Reportedly over 11 people were hospitalized due to the radiation leak in Mayapuri's scrap market and one of them died.

Thirty-five year old Rajender, a worker in the Mayapuri scrap market, who was admitted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here on April 13, died of multiple organ failure on April 26.

The Delhi Police on Wednesday said the Cobalt-60 was in a 'Gamma Irradiator', which was bought in 1968 from Canada and had not been in use since 1985, adding that it was bought by scrap dealers in Mayapuri through an auction in February this year.

It is reported that the Mayapuri scrap dealers dismantled the equipment and in the process, the lead covering on it was peeled off leading to radiation exposure.

Ten sources of Cobalt-60 had been discovered in the market.

Cobalt-60 is a radioactive isotope of cobalt, which is a hard, lustrous, grey metal. It is used in cancer therapy machines and other medical equipment. (ANI)

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