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COMMENTARY
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 23  

Radiation professionals in health: An indispensable force for national radiation emergencies


Department of Radiotherapy and Radiation Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication9-Nov-2018

Correspondence Address:
Lalit Mohan Aggarwal
Department of Radiotherapy and Radiation Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-3919.245055

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How to cite this article:
Aggarwal LM. Radiation professionals in health: An indispensable force for national radiation emergencies. Indian J Nucl Med 2018;33, Suppl S1:23

How to cite this URL:
Aggarwal LM. Radiation professionals in health: An indispensable force for national radiation emergencies. Indian J Nucl Med [serial online] 2018 [cited 2018 Dec 17];33, Suppl S1:23. Available from: http://www.ijnm.in/text.asp?2018/33/5/23/245055



Trained workforce, availability of proper instruments, facilities, periodical drills, and simulation of emergencies are the key to combat any radiation emergencies caused by antisocial elements. Terrorist organizations are using different unconventional and innovative methods to create panic and terror among the general public. The possibility of any organization using radioactive substances to make dirty bomb is something which is difficult to prevent. A dirty bomb is a radiological device that combines conventional explosives with radioactive substances and in the event of explosion radioactive material would be dispersed in the environment. This may cause damage to people who are exposed to radioactive material and at the same time may contaminate immovable properties by radioactive substance. People may get radiation injuries; properties would become unusable for a long period depending on type of radioactive sources used in this explosive device. In the recent past, terrorists have threatened to use radioactive sources to create panic and fear among the general public. This type of activities comes under the category of nuclear terrorism though it has nothing to do with the nuclear bomb.

The large amount of radioactive materials is found in nuclear plants, but it is guarded by high security. Movement and inventory of radioactive substance are well regulated by regulatory authorities. Therefore, it is not easy to procure radioactive material from these facilities. However, some unused/orphan sources may be available in medical institutions or industries which are not accounted for and in some of the countries, regulatory authorities are not very effective. Therefore, terrorists may get some of the radioactive substances from these places. We know that radiation cannot be detected by our sensory organs; it cannot be seen, smelled, felt, or tasted by humans. Therefore, it is difficult to locate or detect the presence of dirty bomb by conventional bomb detection methods. We need trained personnel and instruments to detect its presence. In our country, we have a large number of trained radiation professionals with proper instruments in industry and healthcare facilities. If this workforce is used properly, then our country would be able to face any challenge posed by this type of terrorist activities. Mayapuri (Delhi) radiation incident in 2010 could be detected well in time by the alertness of Nuclear Medicine Physician and Chief Medical Physicist of Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. Similarly, we got an opportunity to investigate a possibility of dirty bomb. It was an emergency, and trained people were required to handle it as local authorities were not having any clue to manage this situation. In my presentation, I would be discussing the whole incident, how it was managed and the role of trained radiation workers in managing such emergencies.

Acknowledgments

This whole operation was carried out with the help of BARC Officials, BHU staff and local authorities. Special thanks to Dr. DN Sharma (DAE), Dr. RK Mishra (DAE), Dr. A Mandal, Dr. S Pradhan, Dr. BK Singh, and Dr. Ajay K Tyagi from BHU.






 

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