Atomic Board searching for more radioactive materials

The AERB search began after Delhi University chemistry professor, Ramesh Chandra, alleged that more than 20 kg of radioactive material was buried in front of the DU physics department for almost 20 years ignoring his protests.

AERB said it had suspended the licence to handle radioactive material of the chemistry laboratory responsible for throwing out the irradiation machine. “University authorities and students cannot use the laboratory until we give them clearance,” said Ompal Singh, AERB secretary.

However, a former DU student of nuclear physics, who currently heads a nuclear research institution, told Deccan Herald, burying 20 kg of radioactive material appears to be far-fetched. “It may be radioactive source inside a lead box. A 6 inch x 6 inch lead box could weigh 20 kg,” he said.

If source is of weak nature with half-life periods in terms of days or months rather than years, then also it may not be of a major threat to the public, he said. On the contrary, the Co-60 found in Mayapuri had a half life of 5.27 years which means 10 gm of Co-60 will be reduced to 5 gm naturally in 5.27 years.

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