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.
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.http://www.thehindu.com/2009/03/02/stories/2009030255471100.htm
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
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
Filed on Monday, Mar 02, 2009
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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
AERB confirms contaminated radioactive material in steel scrap
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.
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.
Filed on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009
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.