BARC blaze probe makes no headway

According to police sources here, the investigators have also ruled out negligence on the part of BARC. But the fire has raised questions over the safety and security aspects in India’s premier nuclear establishment.

The cause of the fire remains unknown even as police and BARC officials spent the entire day examining the complex in Chembur, north-east Mumbai.

All top BARC officials remained incommunicado throughout the day.

The chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Srikumar Banerjee, who is Secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), was present in the BARC today, an official said.
Police Tuesday recovered the bodies of the two victims - Uttam Singh (25) of Jogeshwar in Mumbai and his colleague Partha Baga (26) from Kolkata. Both bodies were charred beyond recognition. A loud explosion followed the fire, which broke out in a room on the third floor of the Modular Laboratory shortly after noon when the two junior scientists were present on the premises.

“The bodies were discovered by firemen,” a spokesman for BARC said.
The fire is suspected to have erupted following a suspected chemical reaction that led to an explosion in the laboratory housing analytical instruments.

However, there was no danger to the main reactor in the BARC or any other sensitive facilities that could lead to radiation or radioactivity, the spokesman said.

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