FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 9, 2011
NEWS MEDIA CONTACTS:
Ethan Huffman, 208-526-0660, [email protected]
Misty Benjamin, 208-526-5940, [email protected]
Update on employee exposureincident; officials available to answer questions Wednesday
Officials have concluded theemergency response to Tuesday’s radiation exposure event, but medicalevaluation of exposed workers and investigation into the incident continue.
Initial body scans on 16employees potentially exposed to radioactive materials were completed Tuesdaynight (initial reports inaccurately stated 17 employees were potentiallyexposed). The employees were offered precautionary treatment for internalradiation exposure and went home after initial scans were complete.
Today, doctors at Idaho NationalLaboratory’s Central Facilities Area are performing follow-up lung scans onthree employees. All 16 exposed employees are receiving more detailedmonitoring to determine whether they received internal exposure. Theseassessments rely upon biological samples that take days to collect and analyze,so it may be several weeks until monitoring determines the extent of individualdoses.
INL has suspended workassociated with transuranic materials handled outside of gloveboxes or hotcells at the Materials and Fuels Complex. Such work will resume afterprocedures have been evaluated and verified to be adequate. Additionallong-term corrective actions will be established after officials concludeinvestigations to understand the cause of the incident.
The affected area at the ZeroPower Physics Reactor has been isolated. A recovery plan will assess the levelof contamination and determine a path forward to decontaminate the affectedareas. External monitoring showed there was no release to the environment andthe public was never in danger.
INL officials will be availableWednesday to answer media questions.
What: INL media availability
When: noon, Wednesday, Nov. 9
Where: Engineering Research Office Building, 2525 N. Fremont, IdahoFalls
Call-in number: 208-526-0005 or 800-414-2147; press1 and enter 60005 to join the conference when the auto-attendant answers
Please note that INL is theofficial source for event information. Any information from other sources maybe incomplete or inaccurate.
INL’s emergency JointInformation Center has been activated to respond to any questions you may haveabout this incident. Media and members of the public should call the phonenumbers below, not your regular INL contacts.
Media Information: (208)526-9206 Please do not call other INL contacts.
Public Information: (208)526-5042
Follow-up news releases will beposted on INL’s website at: http://www.inl.gov/