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Radioactive Materials

July 31, 1997 | From Associated Press
The highest doses of radioactive fallout from 1950s nuclear weapons tests in Nevada were received by milk-drinking children in the Farm Belt and the Northwest, according to government projections obtained Wednesday by the Associated Press. Fallout from the tests spread across much of the country, but based on mathematical models and earlier studies, exposure rates were highest in 12 states east and north of the Nevada desert, where the bomb tests were conducted.
February 18, 2014 | By Ralph Vartabedian
The U.S. Energy Department said Tuesday it had opened an investigation into a leak of radioactive materials at a nuclear burial site near Carlsbad, N.M. The department shut down normal operations last week at its Waste Isolation Pilot Plant after radiation alarms sounded late Friday, when no one was in the underground facility. Officials at the site discounted any effect on human health, saying no radiation had escaped to the surface and no workers were exposed. So far, it is unknown what caused the release of radioactivity inside the repository, built in ancient salt beds 2,150 feet below the surface.
October 6, 1997 | From Times Wire Reports
Ten border guards were treated for radiation sickness after 15 radioactive containers were found abandoned in and around a former Soviet military base, officials and doctors said. "They have high levels of radiation and will now have to be treated for many years," Dr. Sergei Filin, a Russian helping in the guards' treatment, told reporters. Ten containers were buried at a shallow depth at what is now a border guard training center near Tbilisi, the capital.
December 4, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson and Cecilia Sanchez
MEXICO CITY - After a frantic search across a wide section of central Mexico, authorities said Wednesday that they had found a stolen truck that was transporting a large amount of dangerous radioactive material, a substance that can be used in making dirty bombs. The truck and its contents were found in the state of Mexico, about 20 miles north of the capital, not far from where they were stolen Monday. But the metal container with the radioactive material had been opened by the thieves, who then chucked it about half a mile from where they abandoned the truck, an official with the Mexican nuclear safety commission told The Times.
May 7, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
Ukrainian police and state security agents seized nearly 375 pounds of a radioactive material seen as a likely ingredient for a "dirty bomb" and arrested three people, authorities said. In addition to seizing the two containers of cesium-137, officers arrested three men from the city of Simferopol, police spokesman Yuriy Kondratyev said. Cesium-137 is considered a likely ingredient for a so-called dirty bomb, in which conventional explosives are combined with radioactive material.
January 6, 2002 | From Associated Press
Three lumberjacks who found containers with highly radioactive materials in a forest were hospitalized in serious condition, and hundreds of villagers living nearby have been thrown into panic, Georgian officials said Saturday. The two containers with strontium 90, believed to have been used in signal beacons during the construction of a nearby hydroelectric plant 30 years ago, were found last month near the village of Dzhvari, about 135 miles northwest of Tbilisi, the capital.
November 16, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
Undercover Czech officers arrested two Slovaks who tried to sell them nearly 7 pounds of radioactive material in a sting, officials said. The potential uses of the substance remained unclear pending an investigation, with experts differing on whether it could be used in a "dirty bomb." Police seized the suspects Friday in Brno, 135 miles southeast of Prague, police spokeswoman Blanka Kosinova said.
October 2, 2004 | From Times Wire Services
Authorities are still trying to locate 4 pounds of radioactive nuclear fuel that disappeared in June from a nuclear power plant shuttered in 1976 near Eureka. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission met with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. officials this week to discuss the status of the investigation. The commission and PG&E representatives said they believed there's no public danger and there's no chance the material was in the wrong hands.
Sharp Memorial Hospital was incapable of figuring out how much nuclear material it had, how carefully the material had been used by doctors and how much was sent back to suppliers when the state recently suspended Sharp's license for using certain radioactive materials, state records obtained Wednesday show.
June 19, 2003 | From Associated Press
Los Alamos National Laboratory said Wednesday that it had lost track of two tiny glass containers of plutonium oxide and believed the radioactive material had been thrown out. The lab, which has come under criticism for financial and inventory control problems, said the material could not be used to make weapons, and apparently had been discarded with other radioactive waste without being properly logged.
September 3, 2012 | By Michael Haederle, Los Angeles Times
KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. - As environmental disaster sites go, it doesn't look like much. A scattering of rusting wellhead covers and a machine noisily sucking hydrocarbon vapors from the earth scarcely hint at what has grown into a $50-million headache. But nearly 500 feet beneath this spot, a plume of aviation gas and jet propellant that leaked undetected for decades from an Air Force fuel depot has sunk into the aquifer, drifting toward wells that help supply Albuquerque's drinking water.
June 29, 2011 | By Michael Haederle, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Los Alamos National Laboratory managers sought to allay fears Tuesday that an out-of-control wildfire burning near its boundary might lead to the release of radioactive material. Although the lab stores low-level contaminated waste in thousands of metal barrels in a section of its 25,600-acre property, the Las Conchas fire is two miles away and extremely unlikely to reach the site, said Carl Beard, the lab's operations director. "I just don't see any scenario where the public is going to be impacted," he said.
March 21, 2011 | By Shari Roan and Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Japan halted some food shipments Monday as officials from the World Health Organization warned that radioactive milk, spinach and other items posed a greater health threat than radioactive materials in the air. Tainted agricultural products turned up over the weekend, with some exceeding government standards for allowable radiation levels. Here's some information on radiation and food safety: How does food become tainted by radiation? Plants can become poisoned when radioactive material enters the soil and is taken up by root systems.
December 12, 2010 | By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
States and nuclear facilities that want to ship material to Yucca Mountain have sued to resurrect the plan the Obama administration wants to kill. 'It is like in a zombie movie, where you shoot off its arms and then its head and it still comes after you,' says a Nevada official. In the middle of the Nevada desert, jackrabbits and snakes keep watch over an abandoned, 5-mile-long shaft bored into a mountain. The tunnel was the first step in the Energy Department's Yucca Mountain project, where it once hoped to store more than 70,000 tons of highly radioactive waste from the nation's nuclear reactors.
September 4, 2010 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
In a major victory for community activists worried about health risks linked to a contaminated former nuclear research facility overlooking the west San Fernando Valley, state and federal authorities on Friday proposed a settlement agreement to clean up the site by 2017. Under the proposal by the U.S. Department of Energy and NASA, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control will oversee what is expected to be among the most intensive cleanup programs in the country. The effort would involve hauling significant amounts of soil contaminated with carcinogenic dioxins, heavy metals and radioactive materials from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory to licensed waste dumps as far away as Utah, according to Rick Brausch, project director at the California agency.
March 3, 2009 | Richard C. Paddock
The four-man government disposal team arrived Monday from Los Alamos, N.M., to take away the small canister of plutonium. Weighing just 1.3 grams, the plutonium-238 isotope had been owned by a Silicon Valley company for nearly 30 years and was stored safely in a 10-foot hole in the ground. But in the wrong hands, federal officials say, the highly radioactive isotope could pose a serious threat to public safety and conceivably provide terrorists with material for a dirty bomb.
High Desert Hospital has been cited by county inspectors for seven violations in the handling of radioactive materials, but health officials said none of the errors endangered patients or employees. "They are violations that are going to have to be corrected," Kathleen Kaufman, director of Los Angeles County Radiation Management, said Friday. "But we didn't find anything that indicated there was a health or safety threat."
November 12, 2008 | Bloomberg News
French authorities made headlines last month when they said as many as 500 sets of radioactive buttons had been installed in elevators throughout France. It wasn't an isolated case. Improper disposal of industrial equipment and medical scanners containing radioactive materials is allowing nuclear waste to trickle into scrap smelters, contaminating consumer goods, threatening the $140-billion trade in recycled metal and spurring the United Nations to call for increased screening. Last year, U.S.
July 15, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
The nation is taking too long to secure radioactive materials nationwide that could get into terrorists' hands, the Government Accountability Office reported. Radioactive material used for legitimate purposes in medical equipment and food, for instance, could be used to create an explosive device known as a dirty bomb. Experts think such an attack would be confined to a small area but could have a significant psychological effect and serious economic consequences because of cleanup problems.
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