Citing violations of safety regulations, India's atomic regulator has withdrawn the University of Delhi's license to use radioactive material. The move marks the first time an Indian university has been completely barred from using radioactivity, and research and teaching there are likely to suffer.
India's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) says it took the drastic step because the university missed its August deadline for filing a fact-finding report on an incident that took place in April, when the Chemistry Department breached regulations by selling as scrap a gamma irradiator containing the highly radioactive isotope cobalt-60. One scrap dealer died and six others were seriously injured after unknowingly cutting open the radiation source inside the device (Science, 7 May 2010, p. 679).
Rejecting the university's plea to continue using radioactive sources in its labs, AERB Chairman Shri S. S. Bajaj told the Press Trust of India that "Delhi University had sought more time from AERB but the Board's Standing Committee, that reviews unusual occurrences at radiation facilities, has decided not to extend the time and withdrawn the authorization to use radioactive source in its laboratories."