In the wake of the Mayapuri radiation leak incident caused by sale of radioactive material by a Delhi University department, the Delhi Government has issued guidelines and advisory to all the heads of hospitals, medical centres, diagnostic centres and medical labs using radioactive equipment and consumables on their safe disposal.

Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said on Monday that rules and regulations for disposal of radioactive material would be strictly followed in Delhi. She said the Government has enforced them in all medical establishments as per the directives of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) under the Atomic Energy (Safe Disposal of Radioactive Wastes) Rules 1987 and Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules 2004.

The Minister said the Principal Secretary (Health) had earlier been asked to issue the advisory and guidelines for disposal of radioactive waste. Referring to the recent incident in Mayapuri, Prof. Walia said though Government agencies reacted with alacrity and were able to check any further exposure to radiation among human beings, the serious risk posed by radiation had been emphasised. ``All hospitals and health care centres who deal in any manner with radioactive waste of any kind have to follow stringent procedures against any radiation exposure to humans. This needs to be given top priority through an effective process of controls,’’ she said.

The Minister claimed that she has asked all concerned to strictly adhere to the relevant sections of the Atomic Energy Act (33 of 1962) and the Rules framed there under namely Atomic Energy (Safe Disposal of Radioactive Wastes) Rules, 1987 and Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004, which prescribe detailed guidelines regarding medical exposure, potential exposure, personal monitoring, quality control and even go to the extent of appointing radiation workers and radiological safety officers. Clearly, she said, adherence to these rules by medical and diagnostic centres and hospitals is mandatory.

Prof. Walia said the new rules also stipulate adequate surveillance of likely leakages, emergency preparedness and adopting adequate safety norms while decommissioning radiation installations.

There are penalties prescribed for violation of these rules. The recent detection of radiation exposure has brought into focus the emergent need to safely deal with materials and equipments like radiological and radiotherapy equipments and isotopes used in nuclear medicines.

Advising all the heads of hospitals, medical centres, diagnostic centres and medical labs using radioactive equipment and consumables to necessarily keep a record of all such items, she said this would facilitate routine inspections by the competent authority or Government agencies if and when needed. At the same time, Prof. Walia reiterated that to ensure strict compliance of rules and adherence to all safety norms, the Government would take strict action against any non-compliance.

Keywords: Awareness drive

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