The government on Tuesday said the radioactive material found among scrap in Mayapuri early this month most probably came from abroad.
“It is most likely that this equipment (containing Cobalt 60), which was found there, is not registered with the Atomic Energy Regulation Board (AERB). So the logical conclusion is that it came as scrap from abroad,” Minister of State for Atomic Energy Prithviraj Chavan told the Rajya Sabha.
Chavan ruled out the origin of the radioactive material from domestic sources as the country has “very strict mechanism of rules and regulations”.
The minister added that no operator in the country could buy radiological equipment for treatment without permission of the AERB and even the disposal was also monitored.
Agreeing with members both from ruling and opposition parties that there was no provision for compensation, which was strongly demanded by BJP’s Najma Heptullah to victims of such mishaps, Chavan said, “We need to enact a legislation against nuclear liability.”
The proposed Civil Nuclear Liability Bill is facing strong opposition from the BJP and Left parties whose support is required for passage of the measure in the Upper House.
Chavan said to guard borders against imports of such radioactive materials, the government is installing 12 full container scanners at major ports. He added that two such machines were in operation at Nhava Sheva port at Mumbai.
“We have taken the incident very seriously,” he said in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said the government would come out with comprehensive guidelines for monitoring e-waste by May 15.