Radioactive scrap used to make elevator buttons

India’s nuclear authorities have admitted radioactive scrap was exported from the country to make elevator buttons in France.

French firm Mafelec sent thousands of lift buttons to the elevator maker Otis, which put them in hundreds of elevators in the country over the summer.

Otis said it removed the buttons after France’s nuclear safety authority (ASN) announced this week that 20 workers who handled them were exposed to doses of radioactivity ranging from 1 to 3 millisievert (mSv). The French legal limit for people who do not work in the nuclear industry is 1mSv per year.

The ASN said it had classified the incident at Mafelec as level two on the international nuclear event scale. The scale goes from zero, which means no safety risk, to seven, which means a major accident…

Indian foundries are not required to install radiation detectors to check scrap, but the government has a programme to put radiation monitors at ports to check cargo.

Which obviously didn’t produce the desired result.

So, next time you get into a dimly-lit elevator, you may be able to see the buttons just fine.

2 thoughts on “Radioactive scrap used to make elevator buttons

  1. Cinaedh says:

    The story doesn’t mention what happened to the Indian workers who created the elevator buttons. I’ll bet their exposure was slightly higher than level two on the international nuclear event scale, especially if they were small, young children.

    Oh well, I suppose India has lots and lots of workers and/or small, young children to spare…

    Oh, my Vishnu, they’ve killed Babu! You bastards!

  2. moss says:

    I wonder who owns Otis Elevator, nowadays. My grandfather worked at the original company in Yonkers, NY.

    Not a bad place to work back in the day.

    Now? An outsourcing profit-center for someone who probably never saw the inside of any of the seventeen factories in six different countries making sub-assemblies.

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