WASHINGTON — Two-thirds of the workers present at an Oklahoma uranium-processing plant during a January accident probably suffered kidney damage from inhaling uranium compounds, and doctors do not yet know if any will show permanent harm, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was told Thursday.
One worker was killed in the Jan. 4 accident at the Kerr-McGee Corp. subsidiary, Sequoyah Fuels Co., near Gore, Okla., from inhaling deadly hydrogen fluoride gas.
The gas was formed in the air after the rupture of a cylinder containing uranium hexafluoride, the substance shipped to enrichment plants for transformation into reactor fuel.
65% Suffer Kidney Damage
Ed Shum, project leader for an inter-agency team looking into health effects from the accident, said that 65% of 42 workers tested probably suffered kidney damage. All are being checked regularly, he said.