India probes radioactive contamination incident at Delhi airport

31 May 2015 (Last Updated May 31st, 2015 18:30)

The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has launched an investigation into the recent radioactive contamination incident at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

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The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has launched an investigation into the recent radioactive contamination incident at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

Cargo operations had to be suspended temporarily and staff from the cargo area evacuated around 9am local time on 29 May after a leak was found in the medical consignment of Turkish Airlines freight.

The incident came to light after a few loaders felt irritation while handling containers that arrived onboard a Turkish Airlines aircraft at 4.35am.

"After conducting the probe at the site, we can confirm that there is no radioactive leakage."

Four of the ten containers imported from Turkey and weighing 13kg each had some leakage. However, authorities later dismissed the incident saying there had been no leak.

PTI quoted Atomic Energy Regulatory Board vice-chairman R Bhattacharya as saying: "After conducting the probe at the site, we can confirm that there is no radioactive leakage.

"The leakage on the consignment was a spill-over from another consignment. It is some organic liquid. This resulted in wetness (of the Turkish consignment)."

Authorities from the National Disaster Response Force NDRF, the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre examined the incident.

Airport operator Delhi International Airport (DIAL) said in a statement that there was no risk of exposure to any passenger as the area where the incident was reported was at a considerable distance from passenger terminals.

NDRF Chief OP Singh said: "The radioactive leak was very very small. There is nothing to panic about and there is no effect on the passenger area."


Image: The radioactive leak was detected in the airport's cargo area. Photo: courtesy of Delhi International Airport.