A Radiation Leak Scare at New Delhi International Airport

This morning a panic occurred briefly at the international airport in New Delhi, India, after airport personnel detected a radiation leak at the terminal. Engadget was told by their friends at FreedomPop that the source of the radioactive emissions was traced to cargo on board a Turkish Airlines cargo freight plane.

The area was cordoned off and a team of experts from three government agencies rushed to the terminal. Responding agencies were indicated to be: the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (“AMD”); the National Disaster Response Force (“NDRF”); and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (“BARC”).

An official heading the NDRF made an announcement indicating that a ten person task force had been assigned to “sanitize” the area. He characterized the radioactive leak as “very, very small” and added that “there is no effect on the passenger area.” Officials reported that the radioactivity stemmed from Sodium Iodide Liquid Class 7 material intended for medical use.

Officials re-opened passenger terminals and after the sanitizing effort plan to open the cargo itself to inspect the contents.

The cargo reportedly was destined for Fortis Hospital, a medical facility with multiple areas of medical specialties. Nuclear medicine is used in the treatment of some conditions, primarily thyroid tumors and hyperthyroid problems. The thyroid gland is one of the most responsive areas of the body to nuclear radiation.

An official from India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (the “AERB”) described the leak as “localised” in nature.