Hot isotope container scare briefly shuts Budapest Airport terminal

Hot isotope container scare briefly shuts Budapest Airport terminal

7:45 AM, 16th August 2018
Hot isotope container scare briefly shuts Budapest Airport terminal
Firemen are seen entering the cargo compartment of a Turkish Airlines flight parked on the tarmac of Budapest Airport, Hungary, after one terminal of the airport and its surroundings were briefly shut down due to an overheated container carrying an isotope on an incoming flight. © Reuters

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: A terminal of Budapest Airport was briefly shut down due to an overheated container carrying an isotope, a spokesman for the Hungarian Disaster Management Authority said.

“Material damaging to health did not get into the environment,” the spokesman, Marton Hajdu told Reuters, adding that the passengers are perfectly safe and Terminal 2B was shut down to facilitate a fast investigation.

The terminal was shut late on Wednesday between 7.30 pm (1730 GMT) and about 10.30 pm. Eight incoming and eight outgoing flights were affected, Budapest Airport spokesman Laszlo Kurucz told Reuters.

The national news agency MTI said the material was iridium (Ir) ordered by a Hungarian company from the Russian city of Dimitrovgrad, and the container arrived in Budapest on a flight which arrived in the evening from Istanbul.

Gabor Kaszas, an official of the company, Izotop Intezet Kft, was quoted by MTI as saying that a rise in temperature was normal when such materials are transported. The company, Izotop Intezet is focused on research, development and production of radioisotopes used in healthcare, research and industry.

Iridium is the second-densest element (after osmium) and also the most corrosion-resistant metal. It is a very hard, brittle, silvery-white transition metal of the platinum group. The most important iridium compounds in use are the salts and acids it forms with chlorine, though iridium also forms a number of organometallic compounds used in industrial catalysis, and in research.

Ir is used in special alloys and forms an alloy with osmium, which is used for pen tips and compass bearings. It was used in making the standard meter bar, which is an alloy of 90 percent platinum and 10 percent iridium. It is also used for the contacts in spark plugs because of its high melting point and low reactivity.

Izotop Intezet produces radioactive isotope of Iridium (radioisotopes), mainly used in pharmaceutical business. It offers radiopharmaceuticals and cold-kits for human diagnosis and therapy; immunoassay products for human diagnosis and life science in the clinical and research laboratory use; and steroid and protein hormones, tumor markers, research immunoassay kits, solid phase separation products, and magnetic immunosorbent, mentioned the company brochure.

A Reuters photographer at the airport saw firemen enter a Turkish Airlines plane parked on the tarmac.

Neither the airport nor the disaster control authority confirmed the flight affected was operated by Turkish Airlines. Also, Turkish Airlines officials were not immediately available for comment. Data on the airport’s website showed that flight TK1037 from Istanbul landed in Budapest at 1907 CET, shortly before the terminal was closed.

© Worldofchemicals News

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