A radioactive leak occurred today from a medical shipment at in Terminal 3 cargo area at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI Airport) in New Delhi. The medical shipments contained cancer medicines that were being transferred by an Air France Aircraft. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) team was immediately called on the spot. Additionally, at least seven fire tenders and a HazMat (hazardous material) van were pressed into service. Atul Garg, the Chief Fire Officer said –
“A call was received from the airport around 10.45am regarding suspected radioactive leak from medical equipment. We received a complaint from the airport authorities that Molybdenum-99 has got leaked from the cargo of some aircraft. The element though is not exactly a radioactive element, but has some of its properties. It is also used in many medical procedures.”
However, according to the AERB team, the leak was a minute one and 3 meter distance was sufficient from any harm. The concerned authorities cordoned off 1.5km of nearby area.
After the investigation, officials confirmed that the leak was minor and within permissible limits and there has been no injury to any persons. The cordon has since been lifted. In a statement issued by District Magistrate Abhishek Singh said –
“An inadvertently wrong radiological emergency message was conveyed. A nuclear medicine Molibdenum 99 was being brought from Air France flight on behalf of B L Kapoor Hospital, Pusa Road. The quantity of radiation emitted from the nuclear medicine is below 1 mill rongen (measurement of radiation). There is no beta radiation in the surrounding areas and there is no leakage. Hence it cannot be termed as an emergency. A final call has thus been taken and the Radiological Emergency has been called off at 01.55 pm.”