‘Orphan’ radioactive material found in Pakistan

July 11th, 2008 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 11 (DPA) Pakistani authorities have discovered two sealed containers carrying radioactive material in the southern port city of Karachi, a news report said on Friday. The neutron source material was found buried in a workshop of the state-managed Oil and Gas Development Corporation Limited (OGDCL) in an industrial district of Karachi, the Dawn newspaper said.

The oil and gas company informed the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) July 2 about the properly waxed and sealed containers, a spokesman for the nuclear watchdog was cited as saying.

According to Dawn, the containers have been categorised as “orphan radioactive sources” because the OGDCL had no record of the material, which is presumed to be of Soviet origin.

The site where the containers were unearthed was in the use of a Soviet oil exploration company until the late 1960s when the firm wrapped up its operations in Pakistan.

A PNRA official told the newspaper that it seemed the foreign concern brought in the material for oil well logging, however, “we are investigating it thoroughly.”

Nuclear experts believed that no one had been exposed to radioactivity as the material lay buried and the site was not accessible to the public.

The area is being surveyed to locate any other such containers.

The radioactive material will be handed over to a nuclear power plant operating on the outskirts of Karachi for safe disposal.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in South Asia |