Sunday, August 14, 2005

Safety Mishaps Spotlight LANL

By Adam Rankin
Journal Staff Writer

The two recent high-profile safety mishaps at Los Alamos National Laboratory come at a time when the U.S. Department of Energy is looking to resuscitate a complex-wide safety management plan that DOE officials feel has been neglected.

In the last month, two LANL workers inhaled a noxious combination of hydrochloric and nitric acids— sending one to the hospital for six days— and a uranium researcher spread small amounts of radioactive americium-241 contamination to homes and another laboratory in four states.

Both incidents are still under investigation and one worker has been placed on investigative leave in the fume inhalation incident.

The accidents, which this year include a beaker exploding in the hands of an undergraduate student intern, also come at a time when the management of LANL by the University of California is under intense scrutiny.

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