Radioactive shipment returned to India

Sri Lanka has returned a metal shipment that arrived on an Indian vessel after local tests showed they were radioactive, the Power and Energy Ministry said.

The consignment, contaminated with a radioactive material, has been discovered by the port authorities in a 40-foot container and upon testing it has been found that 125 units of stainless steel and aluminum products were all contaminated.

The tests, which were carried out by the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA), had revealed significant traces of Cobalt 60, which is a highly radioactive element used in the treatment of cancer, Power and Energy Ministry spokesman D. Ramanayake told Xinhua.

“The container has been returned to India and the AEA will inform the Indian authorities of the radiation contamination. Sri Lanka’s AEA will continue to test materials shipped to Sri Lanka,” he said.

The AEA also kept the container secluded for about a week after it arrived at the Colombo port.

Sri Lankan authorities have not decided whether they would take legal action against the owners of the shipment.