Fresh radiation source found; hospitalised victims to be discharged soon


New Delhi: Nearly a week after the first source of radiation was found in a scrap market in west Delhi’s Mayapuri area, another Cobalt 60 source was found and isolated, authorities Wednesday said adding that previous radiation victims in a hospital here will be discharged in the next few days.

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The fresh source containing radioactive Cobalt 60 was found when the police scanned the area afresh Tuesday.

“The source was discovered and isolated by expert teams. The area is secure and there was no need to cordon off the area,” Additional Commissioner of Police Rajan Bhagat said.

He said the new source was “mild and smaller in size”. Police checked the area again after a seventh victim exposed to radiation was hospitalised a day earlier.

AIIMS medical superintendent D.K. Sharma said the seventh victim and four others exposed to Cobalt 60 were improving and will be discharged in the next three days from hospital. However, two people continue to be in critical condition.

“Babulal, the seventh victim of radiation exposure, is improving. His blood counts are normal. He was admitted with complaints of nausea and headache. Now, he seems to be stable. He will be under observation for the next two days and will be discharged by April 17,” Sharma told IANS.

Five victims — Gaurav, Rajendra Prasad, Ramjee Yadav, Ram Kalap and Himanshu Jain — were admitted to AIIMS last week.

“The five victims are recouping in our hospital. Rajendra is still serious, he is showing less improvement. The health condition of the other four radiation victims is improving and they will be discharged in two days,” he said.

Scrap metal dealer Deepak Jain, whose body turned black after he touched the radioactive source, has a considerably suppressed bone marrow and his condition is critical. He is admitted to the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.

A team of experts from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai and a squad from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) as well as radiation experts from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) scanned the Mayapuri area where the second source was found.

The AERB first received information from the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital April 9 that Jain was showing symptoms of suspected exposure to radiation.

Since then, the Crisis Management Group in the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and other officers from DAE and AERB have camped in the national capital with a range of radiation monitoring and detecting equipment for prompt identification and recovery of the radioactive pieces and their safe disposal, police said.