‘Human error’ cause of radioactive spill at BARC | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Human error’ cause of radioactive spill at BARC

mumbai Updated: May 13, 2010 01:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre

A staff member at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Trombay was mildly exposed to radiation on Tuesday because of an accidental radioactive spill.

BARC withheld the name of the person, who is a scientist at the institute. The spill occurred because the container in which the solution was kept had not been sealed.

Terming it a “human error”, officials at the department of atomic energy (DAE) said the incident occurred between 4 pm and 5 pm on Tuesday, when the container was being transferred from the radiochemicals experiment centre in the fuel-reprocessing division to the measurement laboratory.

BARC’s safety review committee will look into the matter.

“One person in the laboratory found that some liquid from the container had spilled. On testing, the hands of the person who handled the container showed contamination. The hands were then decontaminated,” said DAE spokesperson S.K. Malhotra.

“The incident is very minor, with no safety consequences,” said R.K. Sharma, head of media relations at BARC.

According to the rules of the organisation, a person handling radioactive materials must wear gloves. But it is not clear whether the person had gloves on.

Though the person affected went back to work on Wednesday, he will be under observation for 24 hours and tested for internal contamination.

Of late the safety situation at BARC has come into focus. On December 30 last year, two PhD students died at the centre because of a fire.

On November 25, 2009, about 50 workers at the Kaiga nuclear power plant in Karnataka showed a high level of radiation.