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India to Deploy Radiation Detectors to 50 Cities

India intends to deploy close to 1,000 radiation detectors in 50 cities in hopes of heading off an accident or an act of terrorism involving radioactive material, the Times of India reported on Friday (see GSN, July 7, 2010).

State officials have been requested to determine police centers that could house the Mobile Radiation Detection Systems, along with employees who would use the technology. Training would be provided to 10 employees at each location, and the equipment would be placed in police squad cars.

Among the cities to receive the devices are New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram. Automobiles carrying radiation sensors are also to be deployed to border crossings, airports and seaports.

"The system can create confidence in the minds of people and also act as a deterrent to anyone who thinks of using radioactive material in acts of terrorism and disruption," said M. Shashidar Reddy, vice chairman of India's National Disaster Management Authority.

He added: "Radiation cannot be seen, heard or smelt, which makes it difficult for the regular law enforcement agency to detect it. Empowering them with MRDS is, therefore, extremely important."

"While there is very strict compliance with prescribed safety standards at all nuclear installations, the main concern today should be the use of large number of radiological material, in the fields of medicine, agriculture, industry, research and even in many commonly used appliances, besides their possible use by antinational elements," Reddy said (Vishwa Mohan, Times of India, Oct. 7).

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