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Germany discovers India's Radioactive Steel

Written By Gopal Krishna on Saturday, February 14, 2009 | 7:54 PM

More than 150 tons of radioactively contaminated metal parts from India landed in Germany. A similar incident of cobalt 60 nuclear radiation few months back in France that was traced back to India. Indian Atomic Energy Regulatory Board had ordered an investigation whose outcome is not known as yet. Even in that case Vispras Casting, a Maharashtra based company was involved.

Germany's Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety revealed through a Press Release on 10.02.2009 that it has received information that, according to those in several German states radioactively contaminated steel products from India have been found.

The evidence indicates that contaminants are the result of an accidental melting of radioactive cobalt-60 radiation sources in an Indian smelting plant. According to the competent national authorities, the material studied, there is no danger for the population and the environment.

The products of those are both precursors in the form of stainless steel round, which in Germany should be further processed, as well as finished products, such as machine parts.

Household products or products of daily use are not affected by this information. The material was approved by the competent radiation protection authorities in the countries of precaution to ensure a spread of contamination or other consumer goods industries is prevented. The products are highly charged differently. In part they exceed the limits under which they are subject to State control. The vast majority will be less burdened. Federation and the Länder are currently looking for solutions that prevent even the less contaminated materials into the economic circulation.

The stainless steel was included in the present cases, originally from India. It is assumed that one or more of cobalt-60 sources in an Indian steel were melted.

On the initiative and invitation of the Federal Environment Ministry, representatives of federal supervision, the competent radiation protection authorities of the Länder, as well as associations of the steel industry in the last week what action to take advice. Their talks include issues such as the seized contaminated stainless steel is handled, and how the re-invasion radioactively contaminated stainless steels in the German business cycle can be prevented. For the next week,the federal oversight, the companies concerned are invited to discuss
possible solutions to discuss. In addition, the Federal Environment Ministry in a letter to the competent authority in India, a greater control of Indian companies to make incidents of this nature will be avoided.

Contaminated steel products as a result of accidental melting of radioactive sources are a global problem. For sustainable solutions, the world-Bundesum Ministry's initiative for greater international efforts to control on the import into Europe is taken.

Its a case of vicious circle where in Europe thinks that once it has got rid of obsolete ships like S S Norway, it is off its chest. It does not realize that what goes around eventually comes around. The ships like S S Norway are dismantled for secondary (scrap) steel at Alang and reused. The radioactive steel discovered in Germany (earlier in France, Sweden & US) is derived from the scrap steel.

Earlier, Germany, for istance allowed connived when the illegal traffic of S S Norway happened at its port of Bremerhaven. The ex-SS France, SS Norway (S S Blue Lady) was towed from Bremerhaven on her way to an uncertain future in Asia, May 2005. It was a case of classic Not in My Backyard approach and adoption of Lawrence Sumeer principle of transferring harm to developing countries based on economic logic.

Despite repeated reminders with regard to the ship in question violating UN's Basel Convention on Transboundary of Hazardous Wastes and their disposal, relevant EU laws, the Germans did not act. They gave a lame excuse saying that they cannot act because the ship is not owned by the state. Will they give the same eply had the ship been a terrorist's ship?.

There should be zero tolerance and no connivance. The Indian laws require prior decontamination of ships a major part of the scrap metal trade in the country of export but under undue influence of European ship owners, EU has connived at these owners escaping decontamination cost through proxy buyers without taking note of how its ends up in its life in a globalizing world.
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