NEW DELHI, India – Emergency workers sealed off a portion of New Delhi’s international airport Sunday, October 9, after officials suspected a consignment containing radioactive material had leaked, a police officer said.
Fifteen cartons containing nuclear medicine material were isolated to investigate the suspected leak after the shipment arrived at the cargo area in an Air France plane, Sanjay Bhatia, the police chief of Delhi airport security, told AFP.
“The consignment had come from Paris. Our staff reported a leak in the shipment and we alerted the authorities,” said Bhatia.
“The situation is under control. We have cleared the cargo area and experts from India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board are examining the material.”
The shipment was meant for biomedical companies in New Delhi and a few other Indian cities, he said.
Last year a similar suspicion caused a scare at the busy airport after cargo staff found a shipment with nuclear medicine damaged on Turkish Airlines.
Investigators from India’s nuclear watchdog later found an organic liquid from another consignment had spilled over the nuclear medicine cartons.
In 2010, a scrapyard worker in Delhi died from radiation poisoning and 7 others were injured, raising concerns over the handling of radioactive material in India.
Environmental group Toxic Links estimates that India produces 5 million tons of hazardous industrial waste every year. – Rappler.com