Delhi University on Friday gave compensation to individuals who were exposed to radioactive material in the Capital's Mayapuri scrap market. The source of radiation was subsequently traced to the university's Chemistry Department.

An amount of Rs.2 lakh each was handed over to Ram Jiyavan, Gaurav, Ram Kalap Yadav and Himanshu Jain. The university also offered work to the widow of Rajender Prasad who lost his life as a result of radiation exposure. Compensation would also be given to her.

The source of radioactive material found in the scrap market was traced to a gamma irradiator used in the DU's Chemistry Department. The irradiator was used for conducting experiments in analysing the effect of gamma rays on chemicals and had been purchased for use in experiments by students of the Chemistry Department.

However, it had not been used since 1985 and was lying in a room unused since then. The material was finally auctioned by the university authorities on February 26 this year.

The gamma irradiator contained Cobalt-60, a radioactive isotope which is considered to be harmful.

The university had in a statement accepted “moral responsibility” for the incident which it said appeared to have resulted from the inadvertent auction by the Chemistry Department of radioactive material procured in 1968 which along with large quantities of other junk had been lying unused for two decades.

It also admitted that there could have been a miscalculation about the active life about the radioactive material.

A team from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board had visited the university for a full-fledged enquiry into the matter.

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