Los Alamos County officials participated in a briefing this morning with DOE officials regarding last week’s incident involving the inadvertent spread of Technetium 99 by lab employees and contractors working at the Lujan Neutron Scattering Center at LANSCE. After several days of interviews, measuring, surveying and assessment, the DOE’s Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) has been able to successfully identify all individuals and report on their whereabouts since the incident occurred. About a dozen people had been reportedly involved in the incident, many of whom live in Los Alamos or White Rock.
The RAP team’s assessment showed that exposure to the community was limited, has been sufficiently characterized and remediated, and never posed any public health risk to residents, due to the small amounts of Technetium 99 tracked off site and the low-level type of beta radiation emitted by Technetium 99.
“We appreciate the thoroughness and swift response of the RAP team in addressing the situation, and are appreciative of the DOE’s efforts to include us in today’s briefing about their findings,” said Acting Council Chair Geoff Rodgers, “We continue to stand ready to assist the DOE and Laboratory in any way we can. While any release of potentially hazardous or harmful materials at LANL is unacceptable, we were immediately alerted to the situation last week and have been kept informed and involved by their emergency management response teams as they gathered information. We urge NNSA and LANL to continue their due diligence into the investigation of how and why this incident occurred, and to report back to the County on their findings, so that we can rest assured that every precaution will be taken to see that last week’s incident won’t be repeated again in the future.”
The Lab’s official report on the incident can be found on their website at www.lanl.gov.