By Christian Schwägerl
German authorities in recent months have found a disturbingly large amount of radioactive steel in factories across the country. Much of the contaminated metal is thought to have originated in India.
There was little to distinguish the delivery that stood ready for loading in the Port of Hamburg on Aug. 19 of last year. A container filled with bars of stainless steel from India was to be shipped on to Russia. Just another shipment. There didn't seem to be anything out of place.
More and more radioactive steel, much of it from India, has been discovered in Germany in recent months.
But when the customs officers carried out a routine check on the container they were in for quite a surprise. Their radiometers indicated unusually high levels of radiation. They measured a level of 71 microsieverts per hour, a level that in 24 hours would exceed the amount permitted for an entire year.
The officials reacted swiftly. They ordered that the container be put back on the ship immediately and be sent back to India.
This was, however, no isolated case. For months, similar cases have been found across Germany, all involving bits of metal contaminated with radioactive cobalt. And most of them come from the same source: three steelworks in India, in particular a company called Vipras Casting, based in Mumbai. Germany's environmental authorities are alarmed.... Read the rest of the article