Leak at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport within permissible limits; Flight operations resume

A radioactive material leak was suspected in Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday morning with teams of firefighters and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) rushing to the spot.

However, BARC and NDRF teams cleared the anticipation of harm within hours. They said that there was no radioactive leak because the leakage was within permissible limits, reported ANI.

Flight operations have also resumed at the airport.

Air France confirmed the presence of the radioactive substance on flight AF226 from Paris to New Delhi, on Twitter, but denied any anomalies. "Air France confirms that the shipment of radioactive medical material on flight AF226 operated by an A330 from Paris CDG to New Delhi on 8 october 2016 did not reveal any anomaly. After several controls by the relevant authorities including Indian’s independent Nuclear Energy authorities at its arrival at the New Delhi airport its acceptation has been confirmed compliant. The transport of this type of material is subject to strict rules and carried out in accordance with the international regulations (sic)," it said.

At least seven fire tenders were rushed to the Terminal 3 at the Delhi Airport on Sunday following the reports.

"A call was received from the airport around 10.45 am regarding suspected radioactive leak from medical equipment," said Atul Garg, Chief Fire Officer, to the PTI. He said the equipment had come from Air France plane and was kept at the cargo terminal.

Authorities had cordoned off the entire area on T3 terminal as a precautionary measure.

"The area is 1.5 km away from passenger area and was evacuated and cordoned off," police said.

A team of doctors from Medanta hospital were also rushed to the spot.

However, different news reports have given different accounts of the nature of the leaked material, with both PTI and IANS stating that it's not exactly radioactive as suspected.

While according to PTI, the initial updates reveal that the material contains sodium molybdate, a senior fire official told IANS that it was Molybdenum-99, a medicinal isotope.

"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. We have sent seven fire tenders and the situation is under control," a senior fire official had told IANS.

According to NDTV, NDRF has given an all-clear to the area.

There was no immediate response from Delhi airport authorities and Air France.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Oct 09, 2016 18:05 PM

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