As more sources of radiation were detected from junk shops in New Delhi, country’s nuclear regulator today demanded tightening of norms for import of radioactive waste.
The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has suggested that scrap brought from abroad be checked at the port of entry itself for radioactive sources which could enable its proper handling.
“We have made suggestions that when the scrap is imported it should be checked at the port itself before being allowed any further,” Om Pal Singh, Secretary, AERB told PTI.
He said the atomic regulator has also suggested to various scrap dealers’ associations that they obtain a certificate on the nature of junk they purchase from the importer.
The AERB has been organising a series of workshops for scrap dealers on handling of radioactive waste and reporting it to relevant authorities.
Mr. Singh agreed that though there was a set procedure to dispose of domestic radioactive waste, the authorities did face problems while dealing with imported scrap.
“The small shopkeepers buy scrap from big dealers and at times it is difficult to trace back its original source,” he said.
Mr. Singh said incidents of radiation leaks come to light only when the scrap dealers try to melt the radioactive waste in a foundry and in the process get exposed to it.
“Such incidents are reported periodically,” he said.
The on-going investigations to identify the source of the Cobalt-60 pieces found in Mayapuri junk market recently would help police find out the route through which they came into the metal scrap market, the official said.
Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan had said the government was planning some mechanism to ensure that scrap dealers report to authorities about detection of radioactive material found in the scrap.
Keywords: Radioactive waste