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BARC fire was not accidental: Ex-director

December 30, 2009 22:12 IST
The fire at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre was not a mere accident and could be 'some one's' way of checking the preparedness of the nuclear centre in the backdrop of intelligence reports of a possible terror attack, said former director of the centre A N Prasad.

"It could be that someone is testing us to know our preparedness and response to such incidents. We have been told by intelligence that BARC is one of targets for terror attacks," Prasad told PTI from Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Two persons were killed in the fire on Tuesday at the high-security premises. From media reports one could conjuncture that someone is trying to ascertain how vulnerable the centre is, he said adding, the security system of the centre should not be disclosed.

Modular laboratory in BARC is not vulnerable to such an explosion as these labs do not handle any hazardous chemicals, he said hinting at a foul play.

"Modular laboratory does not handle any hazardous chemicals and yesterday's fire and explosion which resulted in the death of two persons is a cause of great concern," Prasad said.

Modular lab has a safety committee and they are supposed to periodically go through all the laboratories housed there and also review, he said.

The spectroscopy laboratory where the accident took place did not have any cylinders and it also does not store any hazardous chemicals to result in such explosion, he said.

Even if some inflammable chemicals are kept in the lab, it cannot cause death of people, he said, adding the incident should be taken as an indicator.

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