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Radiation leak in Kaiga, probe ordered

The radiation leakage in the state-run Kaiga atomic power plant in Karnataka could be an act of sabotage, a top official said on Sunday. A probe has been ordered into the incident by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). Nuclear plant radiation leak leaves 55 employees sick

india Updated: Nov 29, 2009 21:26 IST

The radiation leakage in the state-run Kaiga atomic power plant in Karnataka could be an act of sabotage, a top official said on Sunday. A probe has been ordered into the incident by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

"Preliminary enquiry does not reveal any violation of operating procedures or radioactivity releases or security breach. It is possibly an act of mischief," NPCIL Chairman and Managing Director SK Jain said in a statement.

He said radioactive contamination of the water cooler located outside the reactor building is "a matter of concern and the cause (of the leakage) is being investigated".

Since the incident was detected five days ago, the water cooler - which was identified as the source of radiation leakage - has been isolated and put out of service, Jain said.

In New Delhi, Minister of Science & Technology Prithviraj Chavan confirmed the "sabotage" at the nuclear plant and said a high-level probe has been ordered.

"It could be the handiwork of a disgruntled employee and we are awaiting the results of the inquiry," Chavan told journalists.

Jain pointed out that Unit 1 of Kaiga has been shut down for annual maintenance since Oct 20. Meanwhile Units 2 and 3 continue to be operational even as Unit 4 is under construction.

"All the systems of all the units are healthy and there is no release of radioactivity to the environment within the plant site and outside," he pointed out.