Monday, November 29, 1999

Mayapuri radiation leak: experts visit site

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New Delhi, May 17 -- A team of experts from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) visited Mayapuri in West Delhi on Sunday to decontaminate the radiation hotspot. On Friday, Greenpeace, an international environmental non-profit organisation, had claimed that the Mayapuri scrapyard has six radioactive hotspots even after the AERB's claims that the area is safe. Greenpeace had demanded that AERB officials must decontaminate the area around shop D-32, where the radiation leak was first detected. "Though the AERB website mentions that the area has been decontaminated and is safe, on Friday, we found six radioactive hotspots with more than 5,000 times natural background radiation," said Karuna Raina, Nuclear Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace. "We met the AERB and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) officials and submitted the reports. The AERB officials came and carried out decontamination of the area today," Raina added. AERB officials, on the other hand, claimed that the decontamination process was part of their schedule. "We had already planned to come back and comb the areas again. This has nothing to do with any investigation done by any organisation," said S K Malhotra, spokesperson,AERB. Malhotra added that AERB officials cordoned off some of the areas still suspected to have been contaminated and removed the topsoil. "A full report is still awaited," he said.One person died due to radiation exposure, while six people exposed to the radioactive Cobalt-60 are still undergoing anti-radiation treatment.

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