Safety first

* Mayapuri scrap market row, 2010:  India’s first and only radiation death occurred when Delhi University sold an instrument for conducting nuclear chemistry experiments to a scrap dealer. When workers at the scrap shop tried to dismantle the metal scrap, highly radioactive Cobalt-60 pencil sources from the casing exposed seven people to high radioactivity. One of them later succumbed to radiation sickness. Court cases are on against a group of Delhi varsity professors for scrapping the instrument without checking its content.

* Narora fire incident of 1993: Two blades in the turbine generator of Narora Atomic Power Station snapped under accumulated stress. They sliced through other blades and set off a fire. Cables of back up power systems were burnt.Operators used torch light to release boron solution to shut down the reactor. Even though there was no radioactivity, this is the biggest disaster to strike an Indian nuclear power plant.

* Kaiga water contamination, 2009: In what may look like an insider’s job, drinking water at Kaiga was spiked with heavy water containing tritium, a heavy isotope of hydrogen. Some people were hospitalised but  discharged when traces of the spiked element was flushed out of their body in the normal course. None have any health problem. The plant functions normally.

* Heavy water leak: Many instances of leakage of heavy water – used as coolant – from nuclear power plants but no untoward incidents.

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