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False radiation alarm triggers frenzy at IGI.

The Delhi airport witnessed a false alarm about a radioactive leak on Sunday after a medical consignment arrived by an Air France Flight for a Delhi hospital. The leak was reported from the cargo area of the Terminal 3 of the airport, said Chief Fire Officer ( Delhi Fire Services) Atul Garg.

Senior officials of the National Disaster Response Force and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board confirmed there was no leak of radioactive material and that it was caused by a fault Dosimeter, a device used to measure an absorbed dose of ionizing radiation.

The alarm spread after an employee of a private company handling the cargo, saw the radioactive tags, took a radiation reading, which was over the permissible limit. But officials said that is possible that the Dosimeter was faulty or person who used it misinterpreted the reading.

" Around 10: 20am, a staff of the cargo terminal, while transportation of 6 packets of radioactive material, found that consignment had a tag of radioactive element. When one of a junior staff checked its emission through the Dosimeter, radiation levels were found to be above the permissible limit," said a senior airport official.

" So the staff pressed the panic button and called in the CISF. When the force reached, they segregated the packets and called other agencies like NDRF, AERB etc. Delhi Police also reached the spot," the official added.

The whole cargo area was cordoned off and CISF was called in. Fire engines were also kept on standby as a team from the AERB conducted tests to check the radiation leak. But after tests lasting more than three hours, it was found that the radiation emitted was well within permissible limits.

According to officials, the radiation reading was below 1 mill rongen ( measurement of radiation), while the permissible limit is 5 mill rongen. Also, there was no beta radiation in the surrounding areas, they said.

Explaining the details, a Delhi police official said that the radioactive material was a consignment of nuclear drugs for cancer, Molybdenum 99, which arrived by an Air France Flight for a Delhi hospital.

Six packets of the consignment contained solid sodium molybdate, a white color material that is widely used in medical industries and agriculture industries for as a fertilizer.

" It seems that the Cargo staff got a wrong reading or was using a faulting Dosimeter. Also, packets have special mentions of product along with other details including name of the material and color.

They were protected packets which are transported from countries almost every week," a senior NDRF official said.

It seems that the cargo staff got a wrong reading or was using a faulting Dosimeter. Such packets are transported every week.

-- Delhi Police officer ' ' NDRF personnel at the cargo bay of the airport.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Oct 10, 2016
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