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Sunday, Sep 15, 2019

Security personnel, staff at Delhi airport to be trained to handle nuclear emergency

The programme was initiated after the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) carried out a survey at airports across country to find out preparedness against chemical, bioloogical, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats and identified gaps.

delhi Updated: Dec 05, 2018 13:21 IST
Anvit Srivastava
Anvit Srivastava
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Twice recently, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport witnessed radioactive scare, which was followed by detailed scanning of its cargo terminals by the experts from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
Twice recently, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport witnessed radioactive scare, which was followed by detailed scanning of its cargo terminals by the experts from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).(HT File )
         

A group of 50 officials from Delhi Police, CISF, cargo workers, airlines staff and firefighters will be trained at the Delhi airport to handle chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergency situations. Officials say, the measure was planned after security agencies flagged a threat to the ‘sensitive airports’ in the country.

The programme was initiated after the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) carried out a survey at airports across country to find out preparedness against CBRN threats and identified gaps.

Twice recently, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport has witnessed radioactive scare, which was followed by detailed scanning of its cargo terminals by the experts from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

The training will be conducted by the NDMA along with the Defence Research and Development Organisation and Airports Authority to India.

Confirming the development, SK Mishra, senior consultant to NDMA and former scientist at Department of Atomic Energy, said, the training will start on December 10 and go on for five days.

“We are focusing on training these officers and enabling them to be able to manage the emergency situation until the experts reach the site to contain the situation. The programme will have various aspects of CBRN emergency including safety, detection of CBRN threat, precautions against it and then how to manage such an emergency,” said Mishra, one of the officials who will lead the programme.

Experts from DAE, Institute of Nuclear Medicine Allied Sciences (INMAS), Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will cover the lecture sessions and field exercises.

An officer said that since isotopes used for medical purposes are often stored in cargo terminals at airport, along with other hazardous chemicals, the airports are vulnerable to radiological threats.

“We have also set standard operating procedures of what to do and what not to do in such situations,” Mishra said.

DIAL, however, refused to comment on the details of the programme.

In July last year, a chemical leak in the belly of a cargo aircraft that had landed from Brussels sparked panic among the cargo workers. Later, DAE declared the substance non-hazardous.

In October 2016, six boxes from a consignment of Sodium Molybdate, a radioactive material used in nuclear medicines and fertilizers, got deviated from its designated storage location at the Delhi airport’s cargo terminal and the radioactive warnings on it triggered panic.

In May 2015, a medical consignment containing a low radioactive substance had leaked at the Delhi airport but authorities said that it did not affect flyers.

First Published: Dec 05, 2018 13:21 IST