Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nuclear panic at Kaiga

Mangalore / Delhi: Residents of Karwar spent a sleepless Friday night after 40 maintenance personnel from the Kaiga nuclear plant were admitted to hospital with 'symptoms' of radioactive poisoning.

The 40 people, who were working at unit 1, were rushed to the Kaiga nuclear corporation hospital. The hospital authorities have denied the reports of radioactive poisoning and said all the 40 staff members were discharged immediately.

Senior members of the Delhi-based National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), who are monitoring the situation, said there was no reason to panic."We have spoken to our colleagues at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and there is no need to worry. Our nuclear reactors are very safe," said B Bhattacharjee, a nuclear scientist at NDMA.

Bhattacharjee said there was no leak at the nuclear plant. Sources said the employees working at unit 1 were found with high radiation levels in their body after they drank water from a water cooler in the operational area. It was later found that the water cooler was situated inside the plant on the operating island of KAPS-I. Tritium, also known as Hydrogen-3, is said to be the cause of the contamination, the sources said.

When the employees had to undergo a urine examination, which is manadatory for people working at the site, high tritium levels were detected. They were admitted to hospital and were treated.

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