By Gagani Weerakoon
The authorities are to return a consignment of stainless steel and aluminium products that arrived from India, which was detected at the Colombo Harbour as emitting high radiation.
Chairman, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority (SLAEA), Dr. R. Wijayawardena said release and distribution of the contaminated products was halted with immediate effect.
According to Dr. Wijayawardena, the shipment contained about 125 units of stainless steel and aluminium products contaminated with cobalt 60, an extremely hazardous, artificial radioactive element used for cancer treatment.
Upon further analysis by the Radiation Protection Division of the SLAEA, a decision has been made to halt the release and distribution of the contaminated products and to return the shipment to India, he said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman had ordered the Sri Lanka Customs to hand over details of the Indian Company that the consignment belonged to and further analysis is being carried out to test whether the entire consignment is contaminated with artificial radioactive substances.
“We have not yet explored any grounds on which to take legal action against the Indian company. But, a decision has been made to inform the Atomic Energy Commission of India and the International Atomic Energy Agency concerning the products,” Senior Deputy Director of the SLAEA, Anil Ranjith said.
He said steps are already in place at the Colombo Harbour to pre-detect consignments with dangerous radiations, which pose a threat to public health and the environment and steps will be taken immediately to ensure goods in such consignments do not enter into the country. (Ceylon Today Online)