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 Entered dateSiteRegionReactor typeEvent description
ENS 4824829 August 2012 13:04:00Los Alamos National LaboratoryNRC Region 4

The following information was obtained from the state of Arizona via email: On Saturday, August 25, 2012, the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency was informed by Tempe Fire Department that they responded to a 911 call for assistance from a private citizen who indicated that he may have received a possible radiation exposure/contamination while working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The Tempe Fire Department conducted a radiation survey and found that the shoes were the source of the radioactive contamination. At 2315 hours MDT, on August 25, 2012, DOE Region 4 sent a radiological response team to Tempe, AZ to investigate and perform a radiological survey of the item/s reported with the radiation contamination. A radiation survey, using a Ludlum survey meter with a beta detector, provided a positive result for contamination on a few articles, bottom of both shoes (350 cpm above background) and a pair of underwear (measured 850 cpm above background). On Tuesday August 28, 2012, the following occurred: -The source of the contamination as reported by DOE RAP Teams Region 4 is Technetium-99. (Half-Life is 211,000 years and is a Beta emitter) -It is reported that 13 to 16 individuals may be contaminated with the Tc99. -It is reported that several automobiles and other personal articles have been located in New Mexico and were moved to an isolated area. -ARRA laboratory is now in possession/control of the clothing and will conduct a laboratory analysis to determine and confirm the source of the radioactive material. -ARRA reported levels of Beta Radiation several times above background on both the shoes and underwear. -DOE Los Alamos National Laboratory Waste Management team has recovered the contaminated items from ARRA with a chain of custody for the record. The Los Alamos National Laboratory has released the following information regarding this event:

'Los Alamos National Laboratory is investigating the inadvertent spread of some Technetium-99 by employees and contractors at the Lujan Neutron Scattering Center at LANSCE (Los Alamos Neutron Science Center).  It's been determined that about a dozen people were exposed, and some tracked small amounts of Technetium 99 off-site. The contamination poses no danger to the public. 

'The Laboratory and Department of Energy RAP teams (Radiological Assistance Program) have been working to survey, assess, and where needed, decontaminate all affected people and property.  The teams will continue to address all possible escape paths to be certain that all off-site contamination has been appropriately characterized and remediated.  So far, based on multiple direct measurements, no exposures to Lab workers or the public pose a health risk.'

The Agency ( Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency) continues to investigate. The Governor's Office, state of New Mexico and the U.S. NRC are being notified of this event.