Staff Reporter

‘Four persons decontaminated and are back at work'

No spillage of chemical: BARC

A human error: DAE spokesman

Mumbai: A minor incident of radioactive contamination was reported at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay here, on Tuesday.

Department of Atomic Energy spokesman S.K. Malhotra told The Hindu over telephone that two drops of a radiochemical spilled out of a flask while the chemical was being handled in the radiochemical laboratory.

Surface contamination

Four persons present there suffered “surface contamination,” an external form of contamination.

The laboratory was also contaminated.

The people were immediately taken for testing and decontaminated.

“They are normal now and are back to work,” Mr. Malhotra said, adding that in an event like this the protocol was to decontaminate the affected person.

All personnel tested

A BARC release, issued on Wednesday, however, ruled out any spillage.

It said: “The incident involved minor contamination of the hands of a person, who was involved in the transfer of samples in a sealed container from one laboratory to another laboratory for analysis.

“The matter was promptly detected by experts and the person who carried the sample to the above laboratory and the laboratory were adequately decontaminated and cleared for normal work.

Minor incident

“Two more personnel who were in the vicinity were also tested and they were found to be free of any contamination. There was no spillage of the sample and the contamination has been traced to the sample container. The incident is of a very minor nature with no safety consequences.”

Calling it “unusual,” Mr. Malhotra said such an incident should not happen in a laboratory. “A professional” was handling the chemical, but “unfortunately it was a human error.”