Workers Exposed to Radioactive Material
Second accident within a week
April 4, 2003
For the second time in a week, an accident exposed workers to minor levels
of radioactive material at the Rocky Flats former nuclear weapons plant.
n the latest accident,
a filter fell of an exhaust fan system, releasing accumulated contamination.
Two of the six workers in the affected room at the time tested positive
for possible minor contamination and will be tested further, Department
of Energy spokesman Pat Etchart said.
The exposure appeared to be well below federal limits, said Steve Gunderson,
the state health department's official in charge of monitoring Rocky Flats.
Five days earlier, workers were installing a filter system in a separate
building when air from a contaminated room backed into the rest of the
building. Three of the 33 involved showed minimal exposure and were undergoing
Gunderson has concluded
that the two accidents were unrelated and didn't indicate a pattern of
Eight such accidents were reported at the plant in all of last year.
The contractor Kaiser-Hill is being paid $7 billion to clean up the site
and could receive a bonus if it completes the job before the end of 2006.
Kaiser-Hill is investigating the incidents and "will make any appropriate
changes if any are deemed necessary," company spokesman John Corsi
According to officials, no radioactive material escaped from the buildings.