About 55 workers of the Kaiga nuclear power plant in Karnataka suffered minor radiation after drinking from a contaminated water cooler in the complex, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited said on Sunday.
Preliminary enquiry does not reveal any violation of operating procedure or radioactive releases or security breach,” said the corporation’s chairman and managing director, SK Jain, adding: “It was an act of mischief.”
“Somebody deliberately put tritiated water vials into a drinking water cooler,” Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar told PTI in Mumbai. “We are investigating who is behind the malevolent act.”
Tritiated water — a liquid form of tritium, which is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen — was mixed in the water through the drainage to the overflow line of the cooler, said sources refusing to be named as an investigation is underway.
The Kaiga plant is in Uttara Kannada district, around 500 km from Bangalore.
The exposure was discovered during routine checking of urine samples taken from workers of the plant, Jain said.
The affected workers were taken to the plant hospital and immediately treated.
“The contamination detected in this case has been brought down quickly and (only) one worker is close to the limit specified by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board,” Jain said.
All workers are back at work.
Kaiga has four units of pressurised heavy water reactors, each 220 MW. The first three units — Units 1, 2 and 3 — are already operational while Unit 4 is being commissioned.