Radiation leak was wake up call: Sibal

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Radiation leak was wake up call: Sibal
New Delhi, May 2: Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal said that the radiation leak was a 'wake up call', adding the Centre was going to propose a regulatory framework for educational institutions that deal with such material.

"We need to look at the tragedy holistically. It is like a wake-up call for all of us," he told reporters here on the sidelines of a function.

"We need to deal with issues of such substances, the methodology of its procurement, handling and transportation of its storage and ultimately of its disposal."

"We are going to write to various ministries which deal with the issues of radiation in this regard," he said, adding University Grants Commission will also be writing to various universities seeking the guidelines and mechanisms to be initiated in the universities.

"The guidelines did not merely relate to dealing with radioactive materials but also included bio-medical waste and pesticides. Once the guidelines were put in place, the UGC would work with the universities on the issue, in the coming months," he said.

"We need to take care of the safety of individuals so that incidents like India's first radiation death in Delhi do not occur in future."

UGC Chairman Prof Sukhadeo Thorat informed that UGC was planning to write to all educational institutions and universities on guidelines to be followed in purchasing, using, storing and disposing hazardous material, including radioactive substance.

"They should ensure that the guidelines laid down by various conservatory authorities are followed. The universities must get approval from their executive councils before using any hazardous material," he said.

"The UGC was setting up a high-powered committee to lay down a regulatory mechanism for use of radioactive and other hazardous substances," he added.

The move came in the wake of radiation incident in Delhi's Mayapuri srap market in which one person was killed and seven others were injured.

Eleven radioactive sources were detected in the Mayapuri scrap market where Cobalt-60 was recovered on Apr 2010.

The source was traced to the chemistry department of the Delhi University. The University has been issued a show cause notice by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

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