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PostPosted: 16 Apr 2010 22:15 
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Cobalt-60 found from a person's purse in a pvt hospital
Quote:
New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) Radioactive Cobalt-60 was today found from possession of an individual at a private hospital in west Delhi by members of National Disaster Management team.

Cobalt-60, which had caused radition poisoining at Mayapuri in west Delhi recently, was found in the purse of an individual who brought it to Max hospital, Pitampura Dr B B Bhattacharya, member NDMA said.

A team of experts has reached the hospital to evaluate exposure levels.


Also:
Quote:
One more person has been scalded due to exposure to high radiation and is recuperating at a private hospital in north-west Delhi, officials said today.

One Ajay Jain got exposed to radiation after he unwittingly kept a Cobalt-60 pin in his pocket.

Jain has told investigators that he had received the pin made of the radioactive isotope from Deepak Jain, the scrap dealer from whose shop eight bunches of metal scrap containing sources of Cobalt-60 were found last week in Mayapuri area.


Ajay Jain was admitted to Max Hospital in Pitampura locality two days ago after he found that his back had turned black, officials said adding that the his family members were also being screened for possible exposure to radiation.

The source of the radiation, a 3.8-cm long and two-mm diameter Cobalt-60 pin, has been retrieved and isolated by experts from the National Disaster Management Authority, they said.

Cobalt-60 found from person`s purse at Delhi hospitalExperts said that the source of radiation was as strong as the one found in the Mayapuri scrap market last week.

Ten sources of Cobalt-60 had been recovered from the Mayapuri scrap market earlier and seven persons were hospitalised with burn injuries caused due to radiation.

From: http://www.dayafterindia.com/detail.php?headline=content&catid=257


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PostPosted: 16 Apr 2010 23:08 
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AmberG there is contradiction in the press briefing by the Dlehi authroites. To date no one has authoritatively said what is the cause of Deepak Jain et al getting sick. There is still swirl in the news reports- shiny metal and wires. Which is it? Cant be both. What s the scoop on the West Delhi hospital as the primary source?

They want to take corrective action without identifying root causes.

Question: Should we move this thread out to Strat forum so others can see?


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PostPosted: 17 Apr 2010 02:16 
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Yes, this could go where others can see it (may be useful info sharing)
Quote:
AmberG there is contradiction in the press briefing


That's to be expected.. with msm even clear briefings could get lost. For me, even such basic info as to strength of radioactive source (and other info) is not very clear. One paper (I quoted before) gave 20R to 1000R per hour but that is meaning less unless they tell us how far the source was from the meter.. (10 cm vs 2 meter from the same source and you would have 20R/Hr to 1000R/Hr)

Anyway, I believe, police by now has a fairly good idea where the source came from and continue its investigation.

Wrt to shape of the material it seems that BRIT/BARC (which seems to supply isotopes in India) would know. BTW for industrial uses they even have "Custom built sources as per request" (apart from Dry/Wet Irradiators and gamma chambers). They also provide to schools and hospitals in India. (Link: here

Main page of the BRIT/BARC is at: http://www.britatom.gov.in/htmldocs/hindi/h_index.html

BTW for perspective Blood Irradiator (BI-2000) sold by them for Medical purpose, according to specs has Co-60 source of about 25*10^12 Bq (about 700,000,000 times more powerful than the small source, the picture I posted before !!) .. rough calculation also gives that it will generate about 100,000 R/Hr in close by vicinity - say 10 cm away) --- Bottom line, I believe there is plenty in terms radioactive materials in Hospitals - they must be shielded and discarded very carefully.)


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PostPosted: 17 Apr 2010 07:12 
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niran wrote:
both forms. depend upon the make and model and uses.
e.g. for a supposedly pinpoint radio therapy Cobalt-60 in
form of wires wrapped around hollow pipes are used,
for large area radiation pellets are used.


Thank you for the clarification.

Some numbers about the size and shape of the Co-60 source, at last:
Scrap dealer kept radioactive pin, hospitalised

Quote:
The team from the National Disaster Management Authority has retrieved the 3.8-cm-long pin which has a diameter of two mm.

. . .

Ten pieces of the radioactive material were recovered from the Mayapuri scrap market over the past week. The police are yet to trace where the machinery came from.

. . .


From this information, it should be possible to get some idea about the model and make of the medical teletherapy camera(s) and hence some clues about who its owner(s) might have been. Since as many as 10 pieces were retrieved, I would imagine that there must have been more than one culprit-camera, unless the ten pieces were cut from a single (say 38 cm long) "wire" and kept at different spots in the scarp market (I think, unlikely). Or do teletherapy cameras usually have more than one Co-60 piece housed in them? {Must look up about constructional details of teletherapy cameras, if possible. Any links to this would be much appreciated}


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PostPosted: 17 Apr 2010 10:46 
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Moved to Strat Forum for visibility.


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PostPosted: 18 Apr 2010 01:34 
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No new radioactive source in Delhi: AERB


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PostPosted: 18 Apr 2010 02:55 
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http://www.thehindu.com/2010/04/18/stor ... 171000.htm
Quote:
On the radioactive material found in a scrap shop in New Delhi, Dr. Banerjee said whatever happened in the Capital had nothing to do with the activities of his department. The scrap materials come from other countries and it was not possible for the department to check at the entry points if there were any radioactive materials.

Moreover, the scrap was found in a small area. Checking all the containers laden with scrap was not possible. Instead, scanning could be done.

While a decision to install scanners had been taken, implementation was taking time, Dr. Banerjee said.


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PostPosted: 18 Apr 2010 23:53 
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According to AERB report (per TOI) Co-60 could have come from multiple sources:
corrected Link
Quote:
The radioactive waste, identified as cobalt-60, found in the Mayapuri scrap market last week could have come from more than one source, claims the report submitted by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board to Delhi Police. The report, however, did not specify where the radioactive waste might have come from, saying only that it could be industrial or hospital waste which could have come from outside India.



On April 9, AERB had collected eight samples of cobalt-60 after reports of five persons admitted to hospital because of radiation exposure began to filter out. Later, three new samples, which made two people sick, were collected and sent to Narora Atomic Research Centre by AERB.

The report prepared by scientists from AERB and BARC claims the cobalt-60 seized from the Mayapuri junkyard is of different intensities, suggesting there might be more than one point of origin.



DCP (west) Sharad Agarwal said, "We have received the AERB report and it is being examined. The origin of the radioactive waste is not clear. Scientists have identified the material as cobalt-60. Further investigations are in progress." T....



`It's still not clear where the scrap came from. Other radioactive waste might also have made its way into the junkyard. It's not clear for how long the scrap was lying around in the market. We have taken the statements of seven persons who have fallen ill due to radiation exposure but so far they have not been able to tell us exactly where the scrap came from. We are waiting for Deepak Jain to make a statement, but so far the doctors have not declared him fit," added a police officer.
<snip>


Last edited by Amber G. on 19 Apr 2010 07:43, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: 19 Apr 2010 07:21 
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Amber G. wrote:
According to AERB report (per TOI) Co-60 could have come from multiple sources:
Link


The link provided above seems to be a book review published in Hindustan Times and not about the Mayapuri incident. Perhaps there was an error in transcribing the URL in the post. Can you please give the correct URL for the news item about the AERB report? THX.


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PostPosted: 19 Apr 2010 07:27 
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Gerard wrote:
While a decision to install scanners had been taken, implementation was taking time, Dr. Banerjee said.


same ol' same ol'

Radiation detectors are expensive no? Geiger counters cost 100000000000000000000000 dahlers each no? Now this is proof that radioactive material can be smuggle into India and used to assemble a bomb within India.


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PostPosted: 19 Apr 2010 07:45 
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^^^S. Link has been corrected.


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PostPosted: 19 Apr 2010 09:35 
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Thanks AmberG.


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PostPosted: 19 Apr 2010 20:01 
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11 radioactive sources found so far in Delhi steel scrap market
Quote:
Atomic Energy Regulatory Board said that nuclear experts have scanned hundreds of shops in a west Delhi scrap market but have not found any new radioactive source after 11 sources of radiation were detected in the Mayapuri scrap market recently where Cobalt-60 was recovered, injuring 11 persons including three scrap dealers.

However, scientists were yet to pinpoint whether the origin of radioactive material was from domestic or imported scrap.

The radioactive sources recovered from Mayapuri were in the form of Cobalt 60 pins which experts have been saying are not produced domestically.

A senior AERB official said the radioactive material recovered from Mayapuri is being examined in a remotely handled facility at the Narora Atomic Power Station in western Uttar Pradesh.

The official said they are also planning to conduct a thorough scanning of the market before declaring it a safe zone.

Another official said that “We have already scanned all the shops in the market. It is somewhere between 600 and 800.”

IMO, Plain old detective work - Like looking at the shape, markings (If there were Radiation stickers or other markings were on the container(s)) and interviewing the dealer (or seeing their records) should, by now, have given very good idea of the source.


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PostPosted: 19 Apr 2010 20:52 
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Quote:
Radiation detectors are expensive no? Geiger counters cost 100000000000000000000000 dahlers each no? Now this is proof that radioactive material can be smuggle into India and used to assemble a bomb within India.

Shivji, 100000000000000000000000 dahlers cost is onlee for sacrificial, micro(second)pulse, full spectrum, detectors used to measure the absence of fusion neutron/neutrino..besides the proof is that that bums even if assembled in India will not go boom as long as scientists there remain ignorant of spherical coordinates.. :mrgreen:

(BTW quite a few I know have in past made Geiger counters from a kit (or nothing more than a GM tube, and a few electronic parts)..quite a few surplus, costing $20 or so (from cold war era!) are appearing in the market .... Link for example : Surplus Civil Defense Stuff ..)

Meanwhile, not to go OT,
Cobalt 60 waste not from city hospitals
Quote:
Radiation and health experts say the radioactive emission from cobalt 60 in West Delhi's Mayapuri was too high for it to have come from hospital waste.

The scientists of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) believe the high radiation field and the shape of the source suggest the material was imported industrial waste.

The eight Cobalt-60 sources isolated by the scientists from the Mayapuri scrap market have strength of between 1000 R per hour and 20 R per hour. :roll: {strength is NOT measured in R/hr but rather Curie or Becquerel - It is like telling the height of the elephant in the picture was x inches without telling how far you were when you took the picture }

Roentgen (R) is the unit of radiation exposure.

"In hospitals, a single source of cobalt is used of size 1.5 cms to two cms. The radioactive material used is a different type of isotope and not raw cobalt. { huh! what exactly is different type of isotope and not raw cobalt???}

The 200R cobalt 60 used in hospitals do not match either 20R or 1,000R found here," said Munish Gairola, radiation oncologist and director of Shanti Mukund cancer centre.

"It is unlikely the cobalt 60 came from a hospital in Delhi. It definitely came to the city as part of imported industrial waste," said S. P. Aggarwal, former head of radiological safety division, Atomic Energy Research Board. {"unlikely" from hospital, yet "definitely" for imported industrial waste - does not say what's the basis (for 'definitely' )? )

The scientists are still looking for the source after ruling out hospitals. "We haven't come to a conclusion so far. It seems to be an industrial waste," said Dr H. S. Kushwaha, director of health safety at BARC. The government has asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee ( DPCC) to map all scrap markets in the city.

"We have asked the DPCC to carry out survey of all scrap markets and submit their report in a fortnight," chief secretary Rakesh Mehta said.

"We have been told to focus on four points -- quantity of scrap that enters Delhi, the sources, methods used to dismantle the scrap and measures we can take to ensure incidents like Mayapuri are not repeated," said a senior DPCC official.



(Don't know if it is ddm only)
And

Burning bright Delhi’s underbelly
Quote:
Two major unsavoury incidents in the past 10 days in the western part of the national Capital have in no way contributed to Delhi's aspirations of being counted as a global city. The two incidents involve the recovery of radioactive material from the scrap market of Mayapuri and cases of fire and arson in Mundka. While the first, due to the nature of the recovered material from the scrap, has got some attention, the case of arson reported from Mundka has got completely overlooked.

In the first incident, on the evening of April 8, the police were informed at around 8.30 pm that a scrap dealer, Deepak Jain, has been exposed to radioactive material and is admitted to Apollo Hospital. Later, it was learnt that four of Jain's staff, who were also affected by the radiation, were admitted to DDU Hospital. Acknowledging the seriousness of the situation, the area was cordoned off till the experts removed the radioactive substance safely the next day. However, even a week later, radioactive materials continue to be recovered from the market.
<snip>

The response of the administration to the crisis was same as we have witnessed in the earlier crisis. The cops, neither trained nor prepared to handle such incidents, were rushed to the spot to take the situation under control. .....r. In short, the response of the disaster management agencies was much below the expected.

<snip>

In the other incident, sabotage is not being ruled out in consecutive fire incidents at Mundka scrap market. The fire officials have claimed that the plastic scrap yard was deliberately set on fire and the scrap dealers have alleged the hand of local builders and property dealers who wanted to demolish the market and convert it into a commercial place, particularly after the recent development of the Metro network in the area.

<snip>
The two incidents certainly bring a lot of discredit to the city...


Also, WSJ story (link given before) seem to imply that experts investigating the incident are certain that it did not come from an Indian source. to me it seemed that WSJ was saying that the basis is largely on the shape of the material.
(No further details on if the "pins" are jewelry (gold-cobalt pins are common in brooches etc), or industrial/medical equipment.. even have not seen any report on the basic quantity (and thus strength) of total Co-60 found. Newspaper should ask and get that info.


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PostPosted: 19 Apr 2010 22:37 
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AmberG buried in the statement is the basis for saying that the origin was imported scrap. OK he has his units wrong but,

Quote:
The eight Cobalt-60 sources isolated by the scientists from the Mayapuri scrap market have strength of between 1000 R per hour and 20 R per hour.

Roentgen (R) is the unit of radiation exposure.

"In hospitals, a single source of cobalt is used of size 1.5 cms to two cms. The radioactive material used is a different type of isotope and not raw cobalt.

The 200R cobalt 60 used in hospitals do not match either 20R or 1,000R found here," said Munish Gairola, radiation oncologist and director of Shanti Mukund cancer centre.



So on basis of the radiation source strength, even if wrong units are used, he is saying that its not hospital waste.

Too bad that precise language is not used in public statements.

Hospital sources = 200Units
Sources found 20R and 1000R.

Most likely the 1000R is rad waste imported incorrectly
The other 20R sources are most likely contaminated material.

In other words there are two root causes and so long as they treat all as Co-60 radiation sources there will be confusion.

One good thing is the Delhi Chief Secy has ordered a sweep of all scrap yards in Delhi. This is a good begining for other yards could have similar waste lurking beneath the scrap.
last count there were 250 shops in the Maypuri area.


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PostPosted: 20 Apr 2010 00:29 
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Ramana - I did look at those numbers carefully. (BTW in my comment, I was talking about WSJ article) ... In any case my point is it's not just "wrong unit" it makes NO sense. (at least to me, to be very helpful)
So for example:
Quote:
Hospital sources = 200Units
Sources found 20R and 1000R.

Most likely the 1000R is rad waste imported incorrectly
The other 20R sources are most likely contaminated material.

Can't make anything useful info out of this.

FWIW: Here is some primer (I am just quoting from top of my head - numbers just rough estimates - check out references for accuracy) - may be helpful to others to fill in the gap--

The basic unit of any Co-60 source one buys is Curie or Becquerel
Curie = appox 1 gm of radium = 3.7*10^10 Bq (Bq just means 1 disintegration per second)
1 gm of Pure Co-60 would be about 1000 times more than Ra, So this will be about 1000 Ci/gm

Typical sources you buy (without NRC permission) for physics lab contains about 1 micro curie (10^(-6) Ci)
Typical Medical/Industrial sources can vary a lot (Not familiar with typical use in India - perhaps some one can put a better number)
but irradiation typically has 0.5 gm of Co-60 ( about 500 Ci or more)

(For perspective a 3cmx2mm(diameter) cobalt pin would be around 0.8 gm. Of course, only a (tiny) fraction of that may consist of radioactive isotope)

Now it may make sense for irradiation (where you control how close the object comes to source) etc to give statement like '200R' source but that's when one knows the geometry - that is how far the object is from the source etc - to estimate the quantity/strength. -

Now, 0.8 gm of pure co-60 would give about 1000-2000 R/Hr at about 1 meter away .. (Again rough- order of magnitude calculation) but decrease the distance to 1cm, and you have 10,000 x (that is 10 million R/Hr) ...

So you see, 2000R/Hr is, to put it mildly, useless unless one also tells how far the source was from the radiation meter. (Change the distance from 1 feet to 1 meter and you have 10X difference)

(That's why I was giving an example - that telling that it is x cm long in photograph does not tell much about its dimension - unless there is some thing to compare..)

HTH... and someone asks and gives a better data.

**************

On the side note, I am quite pessimistic about those who got effected. Hope I am wrong (and pray that I am indeed wrong) in amount of radiation they absorbed etc, but survival for more than a few weeks for some one who has taken > 400/500 Rems (4-5 Sv) in a short time is pretty bleak.

(Many years ago, I spent summers in Argonne National Lab, their Library had a huge scientific records (with medical charts/amount of radiation absorbed/distance from point zero etc) on the victims of Hiroshima/Nagasaki and I got really obsessed with reading that material in my free time - I know medical facilities are much more different now, but still there weren't too many survivors who got more than 3-4Sv)


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PostPosted: 20 Apr 2010 04:27 
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Okay: Does any one has pictures/strength or other data?

Here are some photographs of kind of Co- sources in use (Photos from Oak Ridge/IAEA- etc)

Gamma-emitting industrial radiography sources, 30 to 100 Curies
Image
Source capsule used in medical teletheraphy units
Image
Applicator in old days..
Image
Radiography source:
Image
From Junk yard somewhere ...
Image


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PostPosted: 20 Apr 2010 05:58 
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A useful reference Delhi Authorities should read is given below
Categorization of radioactive sources
(Good Information here ... Please feel free to forward this to right authorities .. or if someone knows the address, I can forward it to them)

From this: TABLE 1. Categorization table (For definition of A/D - based on 'activity' and 'dangerousness' - see the pdf doc above)

Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs)
Irradiators
Teletherapy
Fixed, multi-beam teletherapy (gamma knife)

A/D > 1000 (Personally extremely dangerous: This amount of radioactive material, if not safely managed
or securely protected would be likely to cause permanent injury to a person who handled it, or
were otherwise in contact with it, for more than a few minutes. It would probably be fatal to
be close to this amount of unshielded material for a period of a few minutes to an hour.)

2) Industrial gamma radiography
High/medium dose rate brachytherapy 1000>A/D > 10

Personally very dangerous: This amount of radioactive material, if not safely managed or
securely protected, could cause permanent injury to a person who handled it, or were
otherwise in contact with it, for a short time (minutes to hours). It could possibly be fatal to be
close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period of hours to days.

3
Fixed industrial gauges
-level gauges
-dredger gauges
-conveyor gauges containing high activity sources
-spinning pipe gauges
Well logging gauges
10>A/D > 1

Personally dangerous: This amount of radioactive material, if not safely managed or
securely protected, could cause permanent injury to a person who handled it, or were
otherwise in contact with it, for some hours. It could possibly — although it is unlikely — be
fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period of days to
weeks.
4
Low dose rate brachytherapy (except eye plaques
and permanent implant sources)
Thickness/fill-level gauges
Portable gauges (e.g. moisture/density gauges)
Bone densitometers
Static eliminators

1>A/D> 0.01
Unlikely to be dangerous: It is very unlikely that anyone would be permanently injured by
this amount of radioactive material. However, this amount of unshielded radioactive material,
if not safely managed or securely protected, could possibly — although it is unlikely —
temporarily injure someone who handled it or were otherwise in contact with it, or who were
close to it for a period of many weeks.
[b]5
Low dose rate brachytherapy eye plaques , permanent implant sources, X ray fluorescence devices
Less than .01 A/D --- exempt.

((Some statistics from above : total sources, being used > 100,000, Radiotherapy units >10,000, Radiography units >12,000 . Irradiation facilities > 300 world wide --- lot of places where orphan material can come)


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PostPosted: 20 Apr 2010 08:31 
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Amber G. wrote:

Here are some photographs of kind of Co- sources in use (Photos from Oak Ridge/IAEA- etc)

Gamma-emitting industrial radiography sources, 30 to 100 Curies
Image


Request clarification please:

In the above photo, (in both the top and bottom images), I presume the Co-60 source is located within the cylindrical capsule assembly at the left hand end. The "wire" in the right hand part of the image, seems to be a flexible cable, used to remotely position the Co containing capsule assembly by pushing or pulling it (possibly within an outer container). The flexible cable itself does not have any Co activity, although parts of it may be contaminated and hence emit gamma ratiation at a low level . If my assumption as above is correct, then it may be possible that in the media reports, the terms "wire", "bundle of wires" etc refer to the flexible cable which has been securely attached to the Co containing capsule.

It is a pity that photos of the radioactive items that were actually recovered at the Mayapuri scrap yard do not appear to have been published so far in the print media in India (I do not know whether same is the case in electronic media too). Even Dr K.S Parthasarathy's article in The Hindu, (linked in an earlier post) "suffers" in this regard.

In my opinion, so far, dissemination of relevant information (including correct and consistent use of different units of measurements for gamma radiation), pertaining to this incident, has been abysmally poor, sadly, even from Dr B. Bhattacharjee's "Emergency Response" Department as well as from AERB. Of course, it is possible that they said the correct things but the media, not understanding the technicalities, over simplified the details. But then they should have released written material to the media for publication, not just sound bytes. More likely, they themselves do not know too much more about the incident as yet. Or may be they do not want to reveal much of what they do know.


Last edited by Sanatanan on 20 Apr 2010 09:24, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 20 Apr 2010 09:06 
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Amber G. wrote:

. . .

Now it may make sense for irradiation (where you control how close the object comes to source) etc to give statement like '200R' source but that's when one knows the geometry - that is how far the object is from the source etc - to estimate the quantity/strength. -

Now, 0.8 gm of pure co-60 would give about 1000-2000 R/Hr at about 1 meter away .. (Again rough- order of magnitude calculation) but decrease the distance to 1cm, and you have 10,000 x (that is 10 million R/Hr) ...

So you see, 2000R/Hr is, to put it mildly, useless unless one also tells how far the source was from the radiation meter. (Change the distance from 1 feet to 1 meter and you have 10X difference)

. . .



My surmise would be that unless otherwise specified, the measurement reading reported would be "on contact", meaning, the reading was taken with the measuring instrument touching the source of radiation - outside surface of the Co-60 containing capsule, in this case (that is, distance = negligibly low).


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PostPosted: 20 Apr 2010 09:41 
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Yes, the thing in the photo is used in industrial radiography .. to "X-ray" (gamma-ray) thick metal and flexible cable is to reach confined areas A capsule at one end of the flexible cable contains cobalt-60. BTW these were just some typical pictures ... nothing to do with actual story.
Shivji or someone may have seen pins used in Brachytherapy (?) (to put source at the right place) which some times contain gold/platinum


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PostPosted: 20 Apr 2010 20:13 
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http://www.indianexpress.com/news/radioactive-scraps-could-have-come-from-abroad-govt/608880/

Quote:
Government on Tuesday said radioactive material found among scrap in Mayapuri in West Delhi, which triggered panic early this month, apparently came from abroad.

"How it came? Most likely that this equipment (containing Cobalt 60) which was found there is not registered with the Atomic Energy Regulation Board. So logical conclusion is that it came as scrap from abroad," Minister of State for Atomic Energy Prithviraj Chavan told the Rajya Sabha.

Replying to a Calling Attention notice on the incident in which seven persons were affected by radiation injuries, he ruled out the origin of the radioactive material from the domestic sources as the country has very strict mechanism of rules and regulations.

Chavan said no operator in the country could buy radiological equipment for treatment without permission of the AERB and even the disposal of the same was monitored.



And the conclusion...............

Quote:
Agreeing with members both from ruling and opposition sides that there was no law providing for compensation to victims of such mishaps, Chavan said, "We need to enact a legislation against nuclear liability".

The proposed Civil Nuclear Liability Bill is facing strong opposition from BJP and Left parties whose support is required for passage of the measure in the Upper House.

To guard borders against imports of such radioactive materials, the government is installing 12 full container scanners at major ports, he said adding that two such machines were in operation at Nhava Sheva port at Mumbai.

"We have taken the incident very seriously," he said in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


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PostPosted: 20 Apr 2010 21:18 
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^^^ From above and other sources eg:
Source of Mayapuri radiation leak not from India: Govt
Quote:
Chavan said the equipment found in the scrap market was most probably Cobalt 60 and a radiological pencil used in the industry for rediography and tele-therapy for cancer treatment.

It was not waste ( :?: ) but equipment and the country had a stringent mechanism dealing with bio-medical and radiological waste disposal.

He said there was some delay in identifying the irradiated person (person not the source? :oops: ) because he first went to his family doctor who could not diagnose radiological exposure through the symptoms. Thus a valuable three to four days of delay had occurred in finding about the exposure.


And
Quote:
Most likely that this equipment (containing Cobalt 60) which was found there is not registered with the Atomic Energy Regulation Board. So logical conclusion is that it came as scrap from abroad,” Minister of State for Atomic Energy Prithviraj Chavan told the Rajya Sabha.{huh! - According to authorities (and their web pages) there are estimated thousands of sources which are not registered }

Quote:
Subsequent investigations by the country's atomic energy regulators identified the radioactive material as Cobalt 60 — a metal used in the sterilization of medical equipment and for radiotherapy.


Also:

Government declares Delhi radiation-free
(I don't see much in terms of what kind of sources were there)


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PostPosted: 20 Apr 2010 21:47 
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From Newspapers:
>>>An incident of radioactive leakage in a west Delhi area was today raised in the Lok Sabha as .. a wake-up call for the government ..
TOI:
Quote:
.. radioactive waste, identified as cobalt-60, found in the Mayapuri scrap market last week could have come from more than one source, claims the report submitted by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board to Delhi Police.

The report, however, did not specify where the radioactive waste might have come from, saying only that it could be industrial or hospital waste which could have come from outside India.


The report prepared by scientists from AERB and BARC claims the cobalt-60 seized from the Mayapuri junkyard is of different intensities, suggesting there might be more than one point of origin.

DCP (west) Sharad Agarwal said, "We have received the AERB report and it is being examined. The origin of the radioactive waste is not clear. Scientists have identified the material as cobalt-60. Further investigations are in progress." The cops added that they are talking to shopowners at the junkyard to try and trace the origin of the radioactive waste.

"It's still not clear where the scrap came from. Other radioactive waste might also have made its way into the junkyard. We have taken the statements of seven persons who have fallen ill due to radiation exposure but so far they have not been able to tell us exactly where the scrap came from. We are waiting for Deepak Jain to make a statement, but so far the doctors have not declared him fit," added a police officer.

Dealers at the market said they buy scrap from different sources, which is why it is very difficult for them to identify where the radioactive waste might have come from. "We also buy scrap from abroad and sometimes a middle man is involved. There are online auctions. It is difficult to say from where Jain made the purchase," said Pramod Jain, a relative and a scrap dealer at the Mayapuri scrap market.


>>>11 radioactive sources found so far in Delhi steel scrap market ...The radioactive sources recovered from Mayapuri were in the form of Cobalt 60 pins which experts have been saying are not produced domestically. ..
(Source:Business Line)
>>>The Shipping Ministry has issued letters to all major ports to immediately assess the requirement for the number of radioactive material detectors at each major port and get it installed. Six major ports are likely to be equipped with it in six months, while the remaining will have it by March, 2012 (Source: Hindu)

One reference : Hazardous Wastes Rules per GOI


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PostPosted: 20 Apr 2010 23:12 
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Have they released the AERB report on the incident? Maybe it is clear on the type of sources. Right now even the Minster's statment is not clear. They are mixing apples and oranges. The nuke liability bill is for power plant accidents and not for fraudulent import/dumping of radiation soruces as scrap.

PS: I sent an e-mail to Dr KS Parthasarathy to read this thread. Lets see where it goes.


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PostPosted: 21 Apr 2010 00:37 
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Dated report from Hind Times, 9 April 2010....

Quote:
Lurking danger, no one to check
HINDUSTAN TIMES, NEW DELHI | AVISHEK G. DASTIDAR | Fri, Apr 9, 7:16 PM

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Apr. 10--NEW DELHI -- The Mayapuri radiation incident has for the first time exposed the lack of control on the usage of radioactive material and raised fears whether the government is really standing guard against toxic radiation.

This is because of the presence of Cobalt 60 and other highly dangerous radioactive isotopes that are used widely in industrial radiography, medical radiology, large food processing units and even laboratories.

And sitting in Mumbai, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), who are supposed to "strictly control" all matters related to radioactive material across India, are mere paper tigers.

The Board relies on users such as hospitals, industrial units etc, to self-regulate by keeping a Radiation Safety Officer in their premises. Through this officer, the BARC expects the institutions to send them yearly reports on the use of radioactive material.

But here's the catch.

The Radiation Safety Officer is someone recruited and paid by the institutions themselves and is merely trained and approved by the BARC.

The AERB's rather weak defence is the claim that it has the sources of procuring the radioactive material covered.

"In India, one cannot get these isotopes from anywhere other than the government-controlled Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT)," said SS Bajaj, head of AERB. "Those who import, too, need our certificate. So we have it all covered."

But Bajaj could not remember when was the last time the AERB either penalised or even inspected any institute directly. "Mishandled X-ray machines are the most common source of radiation in everyday lives," said Deepak Arora, a Delhi based certified radiation physicist. "It's a huge task to bring in all the X-ray machines under the regulatory net."

Let alone control, the regulators have not been able to put in place basic infrastructure to detect pilferage.

No city has gamma zone monitors to catch movement of radioactive material. No checkpost has any gamma ray detector to nab inter-state pilferage.."

"It is a tinderbox situation," said Ravi Agarwal, director of NGO Toxics Link, the publisher of Half Life, the only publicly available research material on India's disposal of radioactive waste last year. "We are sitting on a dump of potential radioactive waste, and the only mechanism supposed to protect us from exposure is a set of weak guidelines with glaring loopholes."

In Delhi there are three to four large scrap yards processing hundreds of tonnes of metal/miscellaneous scrap brought from multiple sources.

There are also 25 large radioactive machines running in 16 hospitals alone.

Then, there are industries and food processing units.

Still, Delhi does not have a State Directorate for Radiation Activities, as some states such as Kerala and Madhya Pradesh have come up to keep a tab on the matter themselves.



Read more: http://dailyme.com/story/20100409000053 ... z0lfYFGfpi


A lot to ponder over. I think what we are seeing is a lack of of control on import of potentially contaminated scrap metal. This is outside AERB's purview and to blame them is barking at the wrong tree. Also very distressing that even inthe Minister's reply the facts are not laid out and gives rise to more doubnts. When clairty is the essence to deal with potential panic situation, why obfuscate?

Let me be clear.

Unless root causes are identified the corrective action will not be effective. Root causes are those that can be corrected. And root causes fester due to underlaying circumustances. We can idenitify the underlaying cirumustances right now.

Lack of government/regulatory awareness of radioactive materials shipped as scrap. This is the underlaying circumustance.
From the statement of Mr. Bajaj, head of AERB, there are adequate controls and requirements for hospital and industrial rad sources inside India. The self reporting system with Rad Safety Officer (RSO) is adequate for no one has identified either theft, or illegal dumping from an enitity in India.
There are no requirments or regulations on importing scrap contaminated with Radiation materials.
This is the crux of the matter.

A CT scenario.

How far is Mayapuri from Lok Sabha etc?

I wonder if these rad sources were shipped to Maypuri for later assembling into an IED as an LeT plan?

What are the open sources links on LeT or other TSP terrorist orgs dabbling with dirty bombs?

The sorry state/lack of regulations would make it an ideal plausible deniable scenario with SDRES nursing grevious hit and clueless as usual.


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PostPosted: 21 Apr 2010 01:01 
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Pioneer news story on Mayapuri Rad Case

Quote:
CITY | Monday, April 19, 2010 | Email | Print |


Radiation victim Ajay shifted to Army Hospital

Staff Reporter | New Delhi

Ajay Jain, a patient being treated for exposure to radiation in the Capital, was shifted to the Army Hospital on Sunday.

Jain, the eighth patient undergoing treatment at Max Hospital, Pitampura was shifted to the Department of Haematology at the Army Hospital at around 11.30 this morning, sources said. He was admitted to Max Hospital on April 10 following exposure to radiation after he unwittingly kept a Cobalt-60 pin in a purse in the back pocket of his pant. At the Army Hospital, he is being treated under the supervision of Brigadier Velu Nair.

According to hospital sources, his bone marrow has been compromised. Jain has told investigators that he had received the pin made of the radioactive isotope from Deepak Jain, the scrap dealer from whose shop eight bunches of metal scrap containing sources of Cobalt-60 were found last week in Mayapuri area. The source of the radiation was said to be a 3.8 cm long and two-mm diameter Cobalt-60 pin. Seven other persons have been hospitalised with burn injuries caused due to radiation in the past one week and two of them are said to be in a serious condition.

Following the recovery of 11 sources of radioactive substance Cobalt-60 over the last ten days which resulted in hospitalisation of eight persons due to exposure to radioactivity, Mayapuri area of west Delhi has already received an all-clear signal from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) on Saturday. The AERB has given the signal following findings of no high level radiation in the area. "No elevated radiation levels were found in all the areas surveyed and there is good confidence that there are no additional high radiation exposed sources remaining in the area," said the AERB. The nuclear regulator also added that they would conduct a thorough investigation of the scrap markets in the area over the next few days to eliminate any possibilities of having any other sources of radiation in the area. "We have already scanned all the shops in the market. It is somewhere between 600 and 800," another AERB official said. A senior AERB official said the radioactive material recovered from Mayapuri is being examined.


So was Deepak Jain reprocessing the cobalt-60 wire into jewelry pins? In which case he dould have done this before.

It would explain the two types of sources. The initial high dosage level which hospitalized Deepak Jain and his workers and the lower dosage ones in the form of cobalt wire/pins. The latter was being passed of as persoanl momentoes due to its shiny appearance?

Recall the earlier instance when a railway worker picked up a dropped Co-60 source as it was shiny and got hospitalized. Gives new meaning to all that glitters is not gold. Could be Cobalt 60 and be the death of you!

Good data in the above news report. It indicates a sweep was made of the area to see if any more sources are lurking.


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PostPosted: 21 Apr 2010 01:09 
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Definitive report on the Co-60 found in Maypuri scrap shop.


Quote:
NATION | Thursday, April 15, 2010 | Email | Print |


Cobalt came from international market: BARC

PNS | New Delhi

The Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has confirmed that origin of the radioactive waste recently discovered at a scrap dealer in West Delhi was from international scrap market. The hazardous substance, Cobalt-60, had caused serious injuries and confirmed fears that India was being treated as a dumping yard for such dangerous wastes.

It may be recalled that The Pioneer had on April 12 reported that large number of such material like used computer parts including the obsolete Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors with hazardous presence of lead have been making their way to India from South Asia, Finland and Middle East.

Talking to The Pioneer, Head of Public Awareness Division at BARC, SK Malhotra, who is also a part of the team investigating the Mayapuri incident in West Delhi, ruled out the detected Cobalt’s origin to any hospital in the country.

“The Cobalt used in cancer therapy machines and other medical equipment is in the form of pencils or pellets. The source we detected in Delhi is in the shape of a wire. It could be a part of the e-waste, most likely making way from international scrap markets. But it is surprising as to how this source made it through the customs check, which is something for the police to investigate. Customs officials are trained to detect radioactive material,” Malhotra said.

Eight sources of radioactive Cobalt-60 were detected last week. The used up sources of Cobalt-60 were found entangled with other metallic scraps in eight gunny bags, in a metal scrap dealer’s shop in the thickly populated area of West Delhi. Two fresh cases of radiation have further come to light on Tuesday night, taking the total sources of radioactive substance found in the industrial area to 10. Seven persons were injured after being exposed to the radioactive substance.

A team of experts from the Department of Atomic Energy, along with the Jawans from the National Disaster Response System, is continuing with its follow-up checks in the market combing the area for possible radiation. “We had gone there for a routine check, when we detected higher than normal radiation levels in the vicinity of the shop, where radiation was detected earlier,” he said, adding further sources of radiation cannot be ruled out.

According to Satish Sinha, associate director, Toxic Links, (a non-profit organisation working on the issue of nuclear radiation), there are separate regulations related to handling various types of wastes, but they have proved to be toothless tigers. How could something as radioactive and hazardous as Cobalt-60, come within such easy access of lay persons, he questioned.



http://www.dailypioneer.com/SEARCH/Cobalt/Search.html


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PostPosted: 21 Apr 2010 01:38 
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Another report gives timeline and sweep details

Quote:
CITY | Friday, April 16, 2010 | Email | Print |


DRDO, NDMA conduct fresh scan of Mayapuri scrap market

Karn Pratap Singh | New Delhi

With the fact that Mayapuri scrap market is still not free from harmful radiation of radioactive material — Cobalt-60 — experts from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Inter-University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) on Thursday once again scanned the entire market.

According to BB Bhattacharya, senior member of NDMA and former BARC Director, the experts scanned all 800 scrap shops located in the market where around 10 sources of radioactive substances were recovered in the past one week.

Seven persons, who were exposed to the harmful radiation, have been victims. Though no new source of radiation was detected in the area during scanning, the experts refused to declare the market completely safe from radiation effects.

Bhattacharya said the expert team from Department of Atomic Energy has scanned all the shops in Mayapuri market where the radiation leak injured seven persons. "They have checked all the shops. They have found nothing new. NDMA cannot say that the market is now radiation-free. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is the competent authority to say so," said Bhattacharya. During examinations, he said, the experts also found some radiation in soil and it was collected. "This will be disposed off properly by the experts," Bhattacharya added.

According to a senior police officer, the team of experts visited the market and scanned the area close to the two shops where sources of Cobalt-60 were traced. "The team first visited shop number D-127 and 128 where fresh source of Cobalt-60 was traced on Tuesday evening and scanned the entire shop again with their sophisticated sensors. After scanning they claimed that no more source of radiation was traced there. Later they went to shop number D-32, where the radioactive material was traced for the first time last week. The measured the radiation level there and claimed that harmful radiation was still emitting from the shop," the police official said adding the experts are suspecting that the recovered radioactive substance are part of same consignment which probably have come all the way from China. Even after a week the police have not been able to trace the source and channel through which the recovered radioactive elements reached Mayapuri scrap market. The Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) have asked twenty persons working in Mayapuri scrap market to come to their centre on Friday for health checkup. Experts at INMAS would examine them to find out if they have developed any symptoms of radioactive exposure. Meanwhile, AIIMS on Friday issued a Press note mentioning that six patients having symptoms of radiation exposure are admitted in isolated wing of medicine ward and standard guidelines for treatment of these patients are being followed.

A team of Radiation Oncology, Haematology & Medicine under the overall coordination of AB Dey is continuously monitoring the condition of the patients and taking appropriate steps.



So three shops were involved.
And most likely the scrap came from China.

Maybe India should argue that tracer matrials be added to Cobalt-60 sources to ensure origin validation as part of the Wash DC treaty on securityof nuke materials.


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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2010 02:35 
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Hindu Editorial

Deadly Waste

Quote:
Deadly waste

The discovery of radioactive Cobalt 60 sources stored as scrap in New Delhi's Mayapuri locality by the Department of Atomic Energy and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board is a clear pointer to the need for a stronger mechanism to monitor such dangerous waste. At least one person has received a very high dose of radiation in the incident, while six others have been treated for exposure-related symptoms. It is a matter of concern that an inspection conducted after the first reported injury found eight sources of radioactive waste in the scrap yard, necessitating a comprehensive clean-up of the entire area. Radioactive material is covered not by the Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 but by the Atomic Energy Act, 1962. On paper, radioactive sources such as those used in radiotherapy machines in hospitals, industrial devices, and nucleonic gauges must be monitored from “cradle to grave,” and at the end of their useful life, be returned to the original supplier. Imports have to be shipped back to the source or handed over to the Waste Management Division of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre for disposal. The system of tracking and control of possession is obviously far from foolproof, although there is a lot of apprehension that these materials could be used by extremists to make “dirty bombs” (that can scatter radioactive materials). Many so-called sealed sources containing radioactive waste are going off the map and turning up in scrap yards, “orphaned.”

The Delhi incidents underscore the importance of conducting a coordinated search across the country to regain control of orphan radioactive sources. Besides reducing the danger of deadly radiation exposure to people, a clean-up can benefit industry. In 2007, the U.S. Customs regulators rejected several metal article shipments from India, as they were found to be contaminated with radioactive material. Germany, France, and Sweden have also detected Cobalt 60 in Indian steel. It is not surprising that the trail leads to metal scrap, including imported waste used in steel manufacture. The Government of India needs quickly to launch a clean-up act, with the participation of State governments. There is a strong case for designating areas in every city to handle recycling, and prohibit such activity in all other areas. A major effort is called for to train workers and raise capacity in the recycling industry. It is vital that all national ports are equipped to detect radiation in import and export. The safety protocol for waste-handlers, now being drafted by the National Disaster Response Force, needs to be implemented in right earnest to prevent accidents.



So the root cause is lack of control of imported radiation sources as scrap. The rest of the corrective actions are mitigating ones to address fallout of this root cause. What are the international regulations on exporint radioation sources as scrap?


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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2010 18:16 
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Delhi radiation case: AEC, AERB also culpable (Rediff, 22 April, 2010)

Quote:
The Atomic Energy Commission and its subordinate organisations have the mandate to put in place a comprehensive plan to ensure nuclear safety in the country, but that does not seem to have been done, writes Dr A Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.

. . .


If my memory serves me right, during Dr Gopalakrishnan's watch as Chairman AERB, at least on one occasion, a radioactive source -- I think it was from a medical radio-therapy camera -- was found in the dirty muck in Cooum River in Chennai. There may have been other instances as well.


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PostPosted: 24 Apr 2010 17:01 
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Scrap Metal Radiation Raises Concerns in India


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PostPosted: 25 Apr 2010 20:45 
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I remembered that last year around same time there was big hallagulla abt radiactivity in steel parts exported by India to Germany.Germany was investigating and imports of steel products from India were threatened to be banned by many European countries. So I did a web check.
Quote:
Berlin - Germany is investigating 150 tons of steel items imported from India which were contaminated with radioactivity, the news magazine Der Spiegel said in an report to appear in its Monday issue.

It said the most serious case was 5 tons of stainless steel wool which had to be disposed of by a nuclear-waste company, GNS.

The contamination was thought to be the result of the radioactive isotope cobalt 60, which is used in nuclear medicine, being inadvertently mixed with steel scrap and being melted down at three Indian steel works.

Anyone near the container of steel wool, which had been intercepted in August last year in the German port of Hamburg, would have received one millisievert of radiation in
24 hours.

Spiegel said German regulations treated more that one millisievert in an entire year as unsafe.

Federal investigators had traced contaminated steel valves, castings, stainless-steel rope, machine parts and steel shavings in 12 of Germany's 16 states, but most of the parts were not inherently dangerous, with radioactivity below the safety limits.

The steel products had been confiscated, the weekly magazine said, but negotiations were still under way on what to do next. dpa


http://www.thehindu.com/2009/03/02/stories/2009030255471100.htm
Filed on Monday, Mar 02, 2009
Quote:
The uproar over Indian steel contaminated with Cobalt 60, a radioactive isotope of cobalt used in nuclear medicine, coincided with an international conference in Spain that called for the setting up of International standards in radiation safety.


Quote:
“In the last three years the IAEA has become aware of around 500 events involving uncontrolled ionizing radiation sources, about 150 of which were related to sources found in scrap metal or contaminated goods or materials. This is clearly a global problem that requires the application of a harmonised approach throughout the different regions of the world involving all stakeholders,” said Eliana Amaral, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety.

Much of the contaminated radio active material in the steel exports comes from what the IAEA describes as “inadvertent radioactive material in scrap metal” which is thrown into furnaces during the smelting process. India has not been vigilant enough in testing the industrial waste that comes into the country for disposal and the Indian steel industry, especially secondary manufacturers, appears to be paying the price.


Quote:
The scope of the 1999 Spanish Protocol involves the detection and monitoring of radioactivity in storage facilities and industries where scrap metal is collected and handled. The Protocol is a voluntary agreement which defines the radiological surveillance of scrap metal and its products and the duties and rights of the signatories. A harmonised regulatory approach to the issue of inadvertent radioactive material in scrap metal would also have the benefit of facilitating trade, especially of materials originating from the demolition or decommissioning of nuclear installations or other facilities.


Quote:
There are two main types of radioactive material that may be found in scrap metal. The first type is orphan sources or radioactively contaminated material that may have been lost from, or never were, under regulatory control.

The second one is radioactively contaminated material, which may occur in a number of ways, the most likely being from the demolition or decommissioning of a nuclear installation or other facilities that has used radioactive material.

Chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) S.K. Sharma was quoted as saying that the Board had in fact detected the presence of radioactive material in steel scrap at Vipras Casting, a Mumbai-based company.


Quote:
The Hindu spoke to Mr. David Landier, Director for Industry and Transport at the French Nuclear Safety Agency (ASN) who denied there was zero radiation saying his agency decided to reclassify the incident from I to 2 on the INES level (the classification goes from 1- 7 in an ascending order) since more than ten workers were exposed to radiation. “There were 20 persons who received between 1 and 3 mSv (millisieverts) of radiation (compared to the maximum of 1mSv/year for the public and workers in the non-nuclear sector) and the incident was classified as second level on the INES scale,” Mr. Landier said.


Quote:
“The problem did not originate in India. It originated from the scrap imported to India from other countries. We import scrap from other countries including the U.S. Our ports should have radioactive detecting mechanisms in place. We currently do not have them except one in Mumbai port,” said Mr. Suranjan Gupta, Senior Joint Director of the EEPC India. Engineering goods exporters in India too have begun installing monitors to detect radioactive materials in imported steel scraps.


Quote:
The Hindu’s successful campaign to prevent the French aircraft carrier the Clemceau from being dismantled in India was an attempt to stem such traffic. But soon after the Clemenceau was turned back, the Supreme Court allowed another toxic ship, the former cruise liner France, into the port of Alang for dismantling. For every battle won, there are several that are lost.


India dumping ground for 'radioactive waste'?
Filed on 27 Nov 2009, 2008 hrs IST

Quote:
how radioactive waste is making its way to Indian shores and becoming a part of our scrap, getting into our products and resulting in our steel being rejected by the very countries that have disposed them in our countries.

Sometimes between late last year and early this year, a ship carrying a consignment of contaminated Radioactive steel scrap quietely entered into Indian water. Around the same time in Germany, a consignment of elevator button was discovered to be contaminated with Cobalt 60, a radioactive isotope cobalt used in nuclear medicine.

Both the countries traced the exporter of that deadly consignment to here in India.


The first victim of this waste is a foundry on the outskirts of Mumbai.
Quote:
Reporter: We have been informed that your company supplied radioactive contaminated scrap to Vipras Castings. But they returned the steel to you.
SK Modi: Yes, it is lying in with us. But as per AERB instructions we have buried it in our factory campus.

Reporter: How many tonnes?
SK Modi: It's 21 tonnes of steel.


like Alang - and the ports in Tuticorin - waste from the rest of the world will be dumped in our country - with no accountability whatsoever.


AERB confirms contaminated radioactive material in steel scrap
Filed on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009

Quote:
The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has confirmed the presence of contaminated radioactive material in steel scrap at Vipras Casting, the Mumbai-based steel exporter.

The regulator, after surveying the company premises, has segregated the radioactive material for safe disposal, Mr S.K. Sharma, Chairman of AERB, said.

Spiegel Online, a German news resource, had reported that the contamination was detected in Vipras Casting’s shipment when the Customs officers carried out a routine check and that their radiometers recorded a level of 71 microsieverts an hour, a level that in 24 hours would exceed the amount permitted for an entire year.



Situation is alarming to say the least. How much of products of radioactive steel scrap imported from abroad ends up in domestic use? Next time one touches a lift button how could one be sure that gleaming steel button in the lift is not radioactive.? Even after one year or more of that incident, action is not taken to check such imports and there is every likelihood of more radioactive metals such as those found in Mayapuri would end up in many of the scrap markets around the countries and one day Talibans could possibly sneak in one nook through our radioactively porous borders and ports.(two names are mentioned here)

One could very well understand that all such radioactive items are neither tagged by any country nor monitored before its entry in India. It is not clear if at all there is any restriction on such imports and if customs authorities are empowered or equipped to trace and stop radioactive imports. A simple Geiger Counter would do. One can see that German customs officials found radioactivity during a routine check by radiometer. Do we have such a facility even after one year? Clearly mayapuri radioactive scrap might have come from Alang Port through some ship breaking operations or some other imports of junks.


Last edited by chaanakya on 25 Apr 2010 21:16, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 25 Apr 2010 20:54 
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All's not well in India's junk metal capital April 25, 2010 19:07 IST

Quote:
Fearing presence of more radioactive sources in Delhi [ Images ] scrap yard Mayapuri, National Disaster Management Authority and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) plan to carry out a multi-pronged approach survey in the area.

So far eight victims have suffered in this month after exposure of radioactive material in Mayapuri. All of them are still in a critical condition with dangerously low platelet counts and depleted bone marrows. Thousands of people in the area now live in fear.

AERB officials said, so far a joint team of NDMA, AERB and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Department of Atomic Energy crisis management has detected 11 sources of radioactive cobalt-60 from Mayapuri scrap yard using 'Tele-detectors'.

"But the scrap dealers and the people in the area have to cooperate with the authorities. We have to carry out thorough searches at the scrap yard, shop by shop, through close inspection and this is our proposal," a senior official of the team told PTI.

Mayapuri is a junk metal capital of India [ Images ] and giant containers of scrap imported from all over the world. So far, the BARC, which has the waste disposal plant, AERB and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) or the NDMA had no control over such materials being shipped into the country, officials said, adding if India had a policy of checking the ports, the Mayapuri tragedy could have been averted.

Radioactive Cobalt-60 is a widely used radioisotope in industrial radiography, medical radiology, large food processing units and laboratories. The gamma rays emitted by it cause skin burns, cancer and death.

"The magnitude of risk to health depends on the quantity of Cobalt-60, length of exposure, distance from the source and whether the substance is inhaled or ingested," said a nuclear inspector of AERB adding that it takes nearly 5.27 years for it to lose radioactivity by even 50 per cent.

However, Home Ministry along with NDMA-AERB-BARC-DAE team have drawn a plan to install scanners at all major ports. Electronic Corporation of India will be supplying scanners. ( Little too late in the day)

Nearly 4000 tonnes of junk metal enter India every day. As per the revised Radiological Protection Rule of 2004 (first Radiological rule was made in 1971) under the Indian Atomic Energy Act of 1962, the punitive action on the guilty will be more severe now onwards, the official said.

"We agree that it is an international problem, but at least India should not become a dumping ground for radioactive material which if falls in wrong hands could be a disaster for the people of India," he cautioned.

The AERB-DAE team will providing a list of dos and don'ts to the scrap dealers in the country and also provide them with some instruments to carry out preliminary check up for any possible radioactivity and their men will also be trained for the same, he added.

Asked whether DAE has plans to train doctors to deal with radioactive injuries in future, its spokesperson S K Malhotra said, "We have a programme to train doctors across the country in radiation medicine. This could be extended to the general doctors in the hospital too."

Asked about whether the scrap dealers need to obtain certificate from the exporting country, AERB official said, "Yes, they have to. But additionally India has to be vigilant at its ports which will avoid Mayapuri type incidents."

India has a strict vigilant on radioactive material it supplies to its hospitals either from indigenous company (Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology) of DAE or imported.

Last week, 200 radiographers attended a meeting organised by AERB for all industry members who use radiography as part of the education and awareness programme.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police, investigating the Mayapuri incident, is to be clueless as there is no section in the IPC, which could be applied in such cases. A case under section 337 of IPC (endangering human life) has been registered.(we don't have any law dealing with such eventuality)

When asked about the exact origin of source of Cobalt-60 found in Mayapuri scrap, AERB official said, the radioactive material will be brought to BARC where scientists could pin-point the source as there is a possibility of finding the company's name.



A simple Geiger Counter like pictured below could do the initial detection. But I doubt any customs officials at point of entry would have these type of equipment or training .

Image


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PostPosted: 27 Apr 2010 21:26 
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Indian Man Dies After Radiation Exposure

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/world ... india.html


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PostPosted: 27 Apr 2010 21:33 
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chaanakya wrote:
A simple Geiger Counter like pictured below could do the initial detection. But I doubt any customs officials at point of entry would have these type of equipment or training .



However this equipment is commonly available

Image


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PostPosted: 27 Apr 2010 23:28 
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If Deepak Jain is in stable condition then what did he reveal about how he obtained the source?


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PostPosted: 28 Apr 2010 20:02 
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Origin of Cobalt-60 traced to Delhi University

Quote:
NEW DELHI: The origin of radioactive Cobalt-60 found in west Delhi's Mayapuri, which led to the death of one person, has been traced to Delhi University's chemistry department where it was lying unused since the last 25 years.

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


So, DU keeps deadly radio-isotopes lying around for 25 years, and then decides to auction it off to a bunch of uneducated scrap dealers? Fire the head of the Chemistry Department right away!

That is, IF this is true and not yet another ToI gem!


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PostPosted: 28 Apr 2010 20:22 
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Yu find its the educated who have hubris at the root of most system accidents.

A Yale Prof in his book "Theory of Normal Accidents" says

A system accident needs three conditions:
1) A complex process for a dangerous technology. In this case the rad waste disposal process for the hazardous rad sources.
2) The system is closely coupled. Minor events lead to chain reactions and affect things much farther downstream. Eg rad waste from Delhi Uty disposed as scrap has injured and even killed scrap dealers in New Delhi scrap yards.
3) When a long time period without any accidents happens, human behavior of complacency kicks in leading to failure to comprehend their acts. Eg auctioning the rad waste as scrap!
And there were foreign experts wondering if it was a Co-60 dirty bomb being stockpiled.


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PostPosted: 28 Apr 2010 21:02 
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Fidel Guevara wrote:
Origin of Cobalt-60 traced to Delhi University

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

. . .


Do all the 11 sources have the same origin?

I would tend to assume that between 1968 and 1985, the source in the Gamma Irradiator at DU was not refurbished and that most probably it was put to disuse because the source strength had fallen below useful levels for the Gamma Irradiation experiments.

Noting that the half life of Co-60 is about 5.27 years (as per Wiki), about 8 half lives or more have elapsed since the source was manufactured (1968) and now. It would be nice to know whether the present source strength of the "culprit-sources" have been found to be commensurate with the 1968 levels and whether with these types of sources, the radiation levels after elapse of 8 half lives can be life-threatening.

My comments above are not to justify the way DU might have disposed off the Gamma Irradiator as per the report.


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