A one-time investment of about Rs. 12,000 on monitoring equipment can save scrap dealers from the perils of radiation.

This is the advice of top nuclear scientist B. B. Bhattacharya in the backdrop of detection of ten sources of radioactive Cobalt—60 in a scrap market in west Delhi’s Mayapuri which left seven persons injured.

“Scrap dealers should not wait for the government or the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to come and help them. Invest Rs. 10,000 or Rs. 12,000 on a radiation monitoring equipment and be safe,” Mr. Bhattacharya told PTI.

Mr. Bhattacharya, the former director of Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC), is presently the member of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and had played a prominent role in formulating the guidelines for nuclear disaster management.

He said the scrap dealer should go for the simple equipment which show the presence of radioactive material and ensure that the materials they sell are not dangerous.

“When they buy scrap, they can check it with the instrument. They can also show a buyer that their consignment is radiation-free,” he said.

“They should not wait for or depend on anyone. I advice all scrap dealers in the country to make this small one-time investment. Their investment is for common good. They will ensure that they are safe and others are also safe. This is a question of safety,” he said.

He said the scrap dealers can utilise the services of Emergency Response Teams of NDMA located in all cities to calibrate their equipment.

The NDMA has earlier written to Home Ministry to install equipment in police vans which can detect radioactive elements.

“Police vans should be fitted with equipment that can detect radioactive substances. We have suggested this to the government and hope they are taking action in this direction,” Mr. Bhattacharya said.

According to the official, the equipment can monitor radiation level and if there is a leak, it can zero in on the locality. “The papers are with the Ministry. The process is on and we hope it will soon materialise,” he said.

Asked what should the government do to ensure that incidents of radiation leak should not occur, Mr. Bhattacharya said the NDMA has already given the guidelines and “somebody should implement it“.

Soon after the Mayapuri incident came to light last week, Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan had said government was planning some mechanism to ensure that scrap dealers report to authorities about detection of radioactive material.

Keywords: Safety measures

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