Greenpeace has said that radiation risk still looms large at the scrap market in New Delhi which was in the news recently following the death of a person after exposure to Cobalt-60 isotope.
"Our findings are that there are severe and dangerous radiation at very limited spots like spots of few tens of centimeters wide where some radioactive particles that the eyes can't see but still dangerous. They are being carried by trucks and so on from highly contaminated area from around that shop. It is a serious risk to the population who are working there," said Van Vande Putte, a Greenpeace radiation expert.
"We scanned an area of around 200 by 400 meters and found six hot spots there. We identified and marked those spots and the level of radiation there, the dose rate was around 500 microsievert per hour, which is basically a lot more higher than the normal background radiation level. That poses an unacceptable risk to the life of the people there," added Nirupama, an activist of the same organisation.
Greenpeace experts will now compile a report and present their findings to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which had recently declared the area safe.
Improper disposal of sensitive nuclear waste by the Delhi University came into focus after a worker dealing in scrap in a local market died of radiation exposure to Cobalt-60 last month.
The radioactive metal found its way to the scrap market from a Gamma Irradiator at a laboratory of the university's Chemistry Department, bought in 1968 from Canada. It is reported that these scrap dealers dismantled the item and in the process, the lead covering on it got peeled off, leading to radiation exposure.
Cobalt-60 is a radioactive isotope of cobalt that is hard, lustrous, grey metal. It is used in cancer therapy and assorted other medical treatment.