Kaiga, Nov29,2009- Around 55 workers at a nuclear power plant located at Kaiga, Karnataka in southern India reportedly fell sick after they drank water from a drinking water cooler. Investigations have now revealed that the water (supposed to be drinking water) was contaminated with Tritium, a radioactive form of Hydrogen. Officials are now investigating if the lapse occured due to poor safety standards or was an act of sabotage.
The incident underscores how careful plant operations managers need to be to ensure that the hazardous and toxic materials that get routinely processed in a plant do not get inadvertenly mixed up with drinking water and food. Drinking water is the most vulnerable since in many plants the same utilities infrastructure delivers various kinds of water (cooling water, chilled water, demineralized water) to the plant as well as to the administrative buildings like cafeterias and offices.
Do you ever fear that if you work in plant that processes toxic chemicals or radioactive substances, you would somehow get exposed to these substances via food or water? Years ago a colleague used to work in a plant that processed Aniline, a blood poison and he was mortified that somehow he would get poisoned due to some droplets somewhere entering his body in innocous ways-for example something could fall on his overalls and suppose he wiped his hands of sweat on them, it could enter his body. Thankfully nothing ever happened but the hazard might well be present for other workers who still work there.