Nearly 50 employees working in the maintenance unit of the Kaiga plant in Karntaka fell ill and were treated at a hospital in Mallapur for increased level of tritium after they reportedly drank water from a cooler in the operating area on November 24
In a case of sabotage, Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar on Sunday said somebody “deliberately” put radioactive tritium in a water cooler at the Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant that exposed about 50 workers to increased level of radiation.
People involved will be punished under the Atomic Energy and other acts after investigation, he said.
“Somebody deliberately put the tritiated water vials into a drinking water cooler. Therefore, we are investigating who is behind the malevolent act,” he told PTI in Mumbai.
About 45 to 50 employees working in the first maintenance unit of the Kaiga plant in Uttara Kannada district were treated at the plant hospital in Mallapur for increased level of tritium after they drank water from a cooler in the operating area on November 24, official sources said.
Tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, is used in research, fusion reactors and neutron generators.
The plant’s Station Director J P Gupta said from Kaiga that investigations have revealed that one of the water coolers was found to be contaminated and as a precautionary measure, body samples of all the persons working in the area were analysed and based on those results, a few were sent for medical consultation.
All the persons are on their normal duty now, he said.
Mr. Kakodkar said, “The investigations are being carried out from two angles. First to ascertain as to who contaminated the water cooler with tritiated heavy water, and the second from radiation protection angle.”