Cobalt-60 is a radioactive isotope of Cobalt with a half life of 5.27 years. Cobalt-60 is not found in nature, and is artificially produced by bombarding Californium-59 with slow neutrons or by placing Cobalt rods in a nuclear reactor.
Cobalt-60 in very small quantities is used to sterilize medical equipment, to irradiate food, and for medical and industrial radiography.
It can also be used to create a dirty bomb.
One week ago (April 8), in the West Dehli industrial area of Mayapuri, two local scrap dealers, Deepak Jain, Bablu, and five others fell ill as the result of exposure to “very powerful” radiation.
Indian Express (April 9)
Economic Times (April 9):
Indian Times (April 14)
Hindustan Times (April 9):
Sources at Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) told HT the radioactive waste recovered was commercial in nature and may have been used at biochemistry or a haematology laboratory.
Police said the waste in the form of â€œentangled wires and pelletsâ€ could have been brought from outside the country and was handed over to Deepak Jain, the scrap dealer, through an agent.
Jain is battling for his life at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals after sustaining prolonged exposure to the substance.
The officials of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) collected eight bags of the substance from two of Jainâ€™s godowns located 300 metres away from each other.
Two more sources found (April 14).
The Cobalt-60 is assumed to have originated outside India, because no legitimate production of the isotope takes place inside the country.
Hat tip to Debkafile and Thorvald Maada.