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IGI airport scare: No leak of radioactive substance, say AERB, Delhi govt

Indira Gandhi International Airport

New Delhi: A radiation scare at the Indira Gandhi International Airport forced suspension of cargo operations but nuclear regulator and Delhi authorities said there was no leak of radioactive substance from a consignment unloaded from a Turkish Airlines plane.

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) found that an “organic liquid” from another consignment had spilled over the cargo containing nuclear medicine and it was initially thought that the leakage was from that package.

“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),” AERB Vice-Chairman R Bhattacharya told.

The authorities at the airport had cordoned off the cargo area and all the staff have been evacuated. The cargo operations were also suspended as a precautionary measure.

The matter came to light when a pair of loaders felt irritation while handling containers that arrived on board a Turkish Airlines craft at 4:35 AM. Leakage was observed from four of the 10 containers of 13 kg each that were imported from Turkey.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was called in to check the substance, sources said.

District magistrate of New Delhi Sanjay Kumar also confirmed that there was no leakage of radioactive material at the airport.

“It has been officially declared that there was no radioactive substance leak. A box containing a liquid was placed above the container having the radioactive material.

“The box got damaged and the liquid got spilled over the container having the radioactive material. The is no need to panic,” Kumar said.

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