Two Idaho lab workers inhale plutonium oxide from weapons-grade plutonium reactor

At least two Idaho National Laboratory workers inhaled plutonium oxide Tuesday at a nuclear reactor that has been closed down since 1992.

A third employee may have gotten an internal dose of the slightly radioactive material. Sixteen employees were exposed to the plutonium at the Zero Power Physics Reactor, INL officials said in a telephone press conference Wednesday. The employees were decommissioning the reactor that was fueled by weapons-grade plutonium -- plutonium pure enough to build bombs.

They were packaging the fuel for transport to a DOE facility in Nevada, but the destination is classified, officials said. DOE officials told me in the 1980s when I toured the reactor that the weapons-grade plutonium was loaned to the U.S. by the British government.

The fuel, in stainless steel cladding, was allowed to come into contact with oxygen, creating the plutonium oxide that is toxic and easily inhaled. But the workers were unaware the very pure plutonium had degraded.

The “hazards were not thoroughly understood and controls were not properly in place,” said Phil Breidenbach, nuclear operations director of the Materials and Fuel Complex that used to be the Experimental Breeder Reactor II complex.

Plutonium oxide exposure externally is not a threat because it emits only alpha radiation. But itcan lodge in the lung as a particle.

It can be coughed out but the plutonium can get into the bloodstream. Plutonium that reaches body organs generally stays in the body for decades and continues to expose the surrounding tissue to radiation, which increases the risk of cancer.

1320885570 Two Idaho lab workers inhale plutonium oxide from weapons-grade plutonium reactor Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Didn't they have any breathing apparatus? Sick...

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Everybody wants to hue the knurled

They did, but nobody likes the goverment telling us what to do.

Having to purchase respirators and adhering to commonly accepted worldwide safety practices and standards are hampering the ability to make a profit and really are just nothing but a bunch of UN mandates that Idahoans do not want to practice.

Hey, the Doobie Bros are on K-Hits!

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Everybody wants to hue the knurled

Profit?

This is DOE, no profit...just a huge amount of spending

So it's like the ARMY?

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Everybody wants to hue the knurled

It's a DOE Facilty, however who is the managing corp?

But who is the Private for Profit company that manages INEL? Last I heard it was Bechtel Bettis? It may have changed? You sure you're a "nukeworker"? Google "Federal Contractor Misconduct Database" awesome stuff out there nukie.

no Doubt

I didn't say the contractor didn't make money off the govt, but, it's not like they are selling anything.. it's all a big DOE scam... maybe if they had broken up a
spades/hearts/euchre game they could have had a couple more HP's on the job...I am on your side on this.. huge amount of wasted money because there is little oversight
and accountability involved. If they are awarded a contract for 100 million, they will spend it somehow so they can go back and ask for more, meanwhile, little gets done.

Two people inhaled a PLUTONIUM byproduct, what's wrong w/YOU?

Uranium fueled the very first atomic explosion but the plutonium Nagasaki weapon probably killed more people years later. If it doesn't reach the bloodstream they will be lucky.

YOU DON'T CARE! ARE YOU BARBARIANS?

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Everybody wants to hue the knurled

Care?

Easy there chicken little... I care, enough to have checked with 2 friends who work in Health Physics at the very place
the event happened. 2 uptakes, expected to receive less than
a 5% body burden (meaning that they received 10 mrem Total Effective Dose Equivalent)... based on air samples and Whole Body Counts. With alpha emitters the total will be based on urine/fecal sample counts figured in as well.... So basically the same as you would pick up flying from Portland to Miami.

Squawk...

Yes, I say YES, Foghorn.

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Everybody wants to hue the knurled

a much better article

see here:
http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/09/3257088/idaho-lab-accident-may-stem-from.html

The nuclear Rock

Help us Lord. The Rock thinks he's a nuclear scientist now:

"The employees were decommissioning the reactor that was fueled by weapons-grade plutonium -- plutonium pure enough to build bombs"

http://www.ccnr.org/plute.html

More evidence

The Rock writes "The employees were decommissioning the reactor"

The Huffington Post writes "the Zero Power Physics Reactor was decommissioned in 1992.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/09/radiation-exposure-idaho-national-lab_n_1083260.html

Let's seeeee Which one do I believe?

***
Dear Editor, please fire Rocky or move him to the sports dept where his antics won't hurt anyone.

Dear Pimp2

If a reactor is decommissioned, there isn't any fuel left. The fuel was clearly left. It clearly was pure plutonium 239, and it was owned by the British. INL officials were surprised anyone remembered that. But I did.

So keep up cowardly shots behind your anonymity.

Sincerely,

From the reporter who you read every word he writes.

So when they have to be taken out by Godzilla at 30 feet tall?

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I'm not a little boy anymore...I'm a fat man!

The Rock is Write

The INL news release says:
"The ZPPR supported fast reactor core design research before it was decommissioned in 1992."

https://inlportal.inl.gov/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1555&mode=2&featurestory=DA_584331

The Rock writes
"The employees were decommissioning the reactor that was fueled"

And yet the Rock tries to refute the INL, well 'if there were fuel rods it must not have been decomed'.

And the INL press release says:
"The facility is one of the many nuclear material storage locations on the site."

***
STORAGE for Rocks.
The employees were doing scheduled inspection of STORED material.
The reactor was decommissioned (that means nonoperating if they didn't tell you that on your "tour").

***
"Pure plutonium" and Britishs source (irrelevent).

Well I'll use INL press release words here
"Please note that INL is the official source for event information. Any information from other sources may be incomplete or inaccurate."

Innacurate pretty much describes the Rock's Blog.

**
Rock, I don't read every word you write. I read the posts that interest me based on the headline. And even some of those I can't stomach long enough to finish. And I have posted my mission here.

So you'll be returning to BYU to graduate next fall? Cool.

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Everybody wants to hue the knurled

"From the reporter who you read every word he writes"

What?

stoned?

"DOE officials told me in the 1980s when I toured the reactor that the weapons-grade plutonium was loaned to the U.S. by the British government."

Loaned?

Hey, we want it back! So don't go storing it in that desert cave forever!

AAYY! They got me bloody nukes!

AFTER THEM!

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If it hadn't been for those meddlin' kids!