Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Fuel tanker fire on highway near Kimba – just as well it wasn’t a nuclear waste transport

Highway opened after fuel tanker fire near Kimba   https://www.police.sa.gov.au/sa-police-news-assets/front-page-news/fuel-tanker-fire-near-kimba#.XcX8nzMzbIV 01 Nov 2019 The Eyre Highway has reopened following a fuel tanker fire yesterday near Kimba.

Emergency services responded to reports a fuel tanker rolled and caught alight on the Eyre Highway at Kelly, about 15 kilometres east of Kimba just after 7am on Thursday 31 October.

Fortunately, the tanker driver was not injured in the crash.

The fire caused damage to the road surface and required repairs by Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

The highway is open, but speeds are currently restricted to 40 km/h at the scene of yesterday’s fire.

November 9, 2019 Posted by | - incidents, South Australia | Leave a comment

Three ANSTO nuclear workers exposed to radiation

Three workers exposed to radiation,  By SEAN PARNELL Australia’s $200m nuclear medicine facility breached its licence when three staff members were exposed to radiation….. (subscribers only) https://www.theaustralian.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=TAWEB_WRE170_a_GGN&dest=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theaustralian.com.au%2Fscience%2Fthree-workers-exposed-to-radiation%2Fnews-story%2Fc61467842c331fa0cc811a1fe16d70f1&memtype=anonymous&mode=premium&v21suffix=60-b

October 21, 2019 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | 1 Comment

INCIDENTS RELATED TO TRANSPORT OF RADIATION INSTRUMENTS IN AUSTRALIA

Kim Mavromatis No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, October 2 

INCIDENTS RELATED TO TRANSPORT OF RADIATION INSTRUMENTS IN AUST (ARPANSA Aust Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Authority website identifies transport accidents) : “The most common incidents include vehicles carrying the source (radioactive material) being involved in a road accident or the source falling from the vehicle carrying the source. On other occasions containers may be damaged in transit and subsequently sources (radioactive material) may be dislodged from internal packing and shielding. CAUSES : Human Error, speed, alcohol, fatigue, loose fittings, maintenance, inadequate systems, training, oversight”.

Transport accidents of nuclear waste have occured in Aust, because of human error :

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH / THE ADVERTISER (2012) : TOXIC HIGHWAY : “Why radioactive materials, a banned pesticide and food were on the same truck that crashed on the New South Wales Pacific Highway in 1980 is a mystery. But the political fallout of its roadside burial and discovery 32 years later – which left five contractors vomiting and exposed another 13 workers to possibly lethal toxic waste – will be nothing short of nuclear”.https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/

October 4, 2019 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Restrictions on operations of Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, following a litany of safety incidents

Man who urinated in backyard exposed family to radiation,  https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/man-who-urinated-in-backyard-exposed-family-to-radiation-20190729-p52bt4.html By Nicole Hasham July 29, 2019 A patient being treated with nuclear medicine who exposed his family to radiation after urinating in his backyard, and a worker who spilled a vial of radioactive liquid onto his hands are among hundreds of reported mishaps involving nuclear substances in Australia.

The cases have been detailed as the Queensland Liberal National Party declared its opposition to using nuclear technology to produce electricity – a position at odds with Queensland federal Coalition members pushing for a parliamentary inquiry into the issue.

Radiation incidents in Australia are reported to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). Its latest register covers 575 incidents reported in 2017.

They include a worker who spilled a vial of irradiated solution when trying to remove its cap. It is understood the incident occurred at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility in southern Sydney.

Despite the worker wearing two pairs of gloves, his hands were contaminated causing “tissue reactions”. The exposure was considered serious and reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In another case, a patient self-discharged from hospital after receiving radiotherapy involving nuclear medicine. After returning home he “urinated outside” and contaminated “the rear yard”. Turf and soil was removed to address the hazard.

Other incidents included a lung cancer patient who was given double doses of radiation, and a radioactive vial that broke in a microwave.

The report concluded that radiation use in Australia “is generally very safe” but unexpected events can occur “even with strict controls in place”.

Opponents of an expansion of Australia’s nuclear industry cite safety as a major concern.

But new Minerals Council chair Helen Coonan on Monday said a parliamentary inquiry into nuclear power would ensure issues such as safety were better understood.

“I think it’s time to give it a go quite frankly. There’s a long way to go, of course, because there are legislative barriers and there needs to be political will,” Ms Coonan told the ABC.

Federal and state laws currently ban nuclear power, and any push to develop a home-grown industry would need state support. However even state-based Liberal-Nationals have so far failed to back the prospect.

Queensland LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said in a statement that her party “does not support nuclear power in Queensland” and a spokesman for the Liberal South Australian government said it has “no plans to change its current legislation governing nuclear energy”.

Victorian Labor Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said it “makes no sense to build nuclear power stations in Australia. They present significant community, health and environmental risks”.

Queensland Hinkler MP Keith Pitt, one of two backbenchers spearheading the push for a nuclear inquiry, on Monday said despite the Queensland LNP’s position, the party’s members were “very strongly supportive” of nuclear energy.

He said discussions on the issue were ongoing with Energy Minister Angus Taylor and the office of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Mr Taylor said on Monday that the government has “no plans” to change the nuclear power moratorium.

Meanwhile, ARPANSA has confirmed that restrictions remain in place at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility after an incident last month when two workers were exposed to radiation.

Under the restrictions, the facility run by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation can produce enough nuclear medicine to meet domestic demand only. A spokeswoman said the ANSTO must provide evidence of safe operation in fortnightly reports, training records and evidence of satisfactory staffing levels and rostering arrangements before the restrictions are lifted, which could take “several months”. 

 

July 30, 2019 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

 Production at Australia’s only nuclear medicine facility halted after ‘safety incident’ 

Two workers exposed to unsafe radiation dose at Lucas Heights nuclear facility, Guardian, Michael McGowan

 Production at Australia’s only nuclear medicine facility halted after ‘safety incident’   Production has ceased and an urgent investigation has been launched after two employees at a newly opened Australian nuclear medicine facility at Lucas Heights were exposed to an unsafe dose of radiation late last week.Just two weeks after it was granted a licence to enter into full domestic production, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) has confirmed production at its new $168m nuclear medicine facility has been halted after “a safety incident” on Friday morning.

Ansto said three of its workers were “attended to by radiation protection personnel” after the incident, in which contamination was detected on the outside of a container holding 42 millilitres of the radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99).

Two of those workers received a radiation dose above the legal limit roughly equivalent to a conventional cancer radiation therapy treatment, an Ansto spokesman said……

Located at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility in Sydney’s south, the $168m nuclear medicine facility was announced by the federal government in 2012 with the goal of tripling Australian production of Mo-99, the parent isotope of Technetium-99m. …..

It is the second contamination scare at the Lucas Heights facility in only a few months.

In March three staff at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility were taken to hospital after they were exposed to sodium hydroxide when a cap came off a pipe in the nuclear medicine manufacturing building.  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/24/two-workers-exposed-to-unsafe-radiation-dose-at-lucas-heights-nuclear-facility

June 25, 2019 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Veteran of Chernobyl nuclear clean-up: HBO TV episode was very accurate

Chernobyl Episode 4 Scene | HBO | Graphite Clearing

This man knows what it’s really like shovelling radioactive debris on top of Chernobyl’s reactor ABC News , 21 June 19

Key points:

  • At age 32, Jaan Krinal was forced to go to Chernobyl and clean the roof of the reactor
  • He says men were initially enthusiastic to help eliminate the radiation
  • One-third of the men of his town he served with in Chernobyl have died

When he left his wife and two children on May 7, 1986 and went to work, Jaan Krinal didn’t know he would be one of those people.

The 32-year-old was working on a state-owned farm in Soviet-occupied Estonia.

Because he’d been forced to complete the Soviet military’s retraining a year before, he was confused when officers surprised him at work and said he’d been called up again — immediately.

Jaan and 200 other men were taken to a nearby school. Once they’d walked through the door, no-one was allowed to leave.

The men’s passports were seized before they were loaded onto buses and taken to a forest, where they were told to slip into brand new army uniforms.

“That’s when I first questioned what’s really going on here,” Jaan recalls………

Workers told radiation could have health benefits

It all happened fast.

Hundreds of men boarded a Ukraine-bound train on May 8. By the next evening, they were setting up camp on the edge of Chernobyl’s exclusion zone.

They were just 30 kilometres away from the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster — the still-smouldering wreckage of a reactor torn apart by a series of explosions and spewing radiation in a plume across Europe.

Jaan was among the first group sent to clean up in the aftermath of the catastrophe.

Tasked with hosing down radiation on the houses in nearby villages, he was thrown into the thick of it……

Despite the apparent uselessness of the job, they continued to work 11-hour days without a day off until the end of June. After that, they had two days of downtime a month.

As the weeks rolled on, suspicions grew.

“We started to have doubts. But all the officers said, ‘Why are you fretting, the radiation levels aren’t that high.”

In a cruel irony, the commanders told the men that being exposed to radiation would actually have health benefits.

“They joked that whoever has cancer can now get rid of it — because the radiation helps,” Jaan says.

Men unaware of deadly reason behind roof time limit

By the end of September, whatever enthusiasm the men initially felt had faded.

As many developed a cough, concerns grew about whether they were being lied to about the radiation being harmless. The respirators the men were given wouldn’t stay on because of the heat and were used until they got holes in them.

Later they found they should have been replaced every day…….

A rumour had it that the very last leg of the assignment was going on the roof of the reactor to clean up as much debris as possible.

Humans were going to be given a task that remote-control robots had previously attempted, but failed. The machines simply stopped working due to the unprecedented levels of radiation.

“When they told us, ‘You have to go to the roof’, we thought, ‘Oh, this means we can go home soon’,” he says.

On the day, he changed his army uniform for a protective suit, glasses and a gas mask, and a metal groin guard.

“We were all lined up and told, ‘who doesn’t want to go on the roof, step forward’. But only a couple of us did,” he says.

“There was no mass rejection. Most people went up there.

“It had to be done. We couldn’t just leave it. I think everyone realised the longer the reactor would have stayed open, the more dangerous it would have become.”

Jaan was shown on a small screen exactly which piece of debris he had to pick up with a shovel and throw off the roof of the reactor, but strictly warned against going too close to the edge.

He had two minutes to complete the assignment — a bell would ring to tell him when to run back.

The two-minute timeframe was to limit exposure to radiation, which could kill a man.

But this wasn’t communicated to the men at the time.

Jaan says the roof-cleaning scene depicted in HBO’s mini-series Chernobyl mirrored real life events…….

A staggering one-third of the men of his town who went to Chernobyl have died.

The average age of death has been 52.

“Over the past couple of years, just a couple of us have died. But not too long ago it was around 10 men a year,” he says.

“There have been cancers. There have been suicides too, but thankfully not too many.”……

he hopes tourists won’t start flocking to the ghost city.

“I hope they’ll never start sending large groups of tourists there. It’s still a dangerous zone,” he says.

He hasn’t seen the mini-series, but welcomes the attention Chernobyl disaster is getting — he thinks it acts as a warning to the human kind.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-22/chernobyl-what-it-was-really-like-on-top-of-reactor/11223876

June 22, 2019 Posted by | - incidents, General News, wastes | Leave a comment

Three people treated at Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear facility after chemical spill

ABC News 1 Mar 19  Three staff at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility have been decontaminated after being exposed to a chemical spill.

Key points:

  • Australia’s only nuclear reactor is located at Lucas Heights, about 40km south of Sydney’s CBD
  • Two men and a women were decontaminated and taken to Sutherland Hospital
  • The facility has had several contamination scares in recent years

A spokesman for Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) said the workers were exposed to sodium hydroxide when a cap came off a pipe in the nuclear medicine manufacturing building…………

Contamination scares

The Lucas Heights facility, about 40 kilometres south of the Sydney CBD, has had several contamination scares in recent years.

In August 2017 a worker suffered blisters on his hands after he dropped a vial of radioactive material and was contaminated through two pairs of gloves.

The event was deemed the most serious in the world in 2017, according to the International Nuclear Event Scale — the global grading system for nuclear incidents.

ANSTO apologised to the worker who was exposed to the radioactive material and produced an “action plan”, in response.

An independent review of the facility was conducted in October 2018 and found that it failed modern nuclear safety standards and should be replaced.

In the same week ANSTO confirmed five workers had received a dose of radiation at the facility, but that the amount of radiation was “less than a chest X-ray”.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-01/three-treated-after-safety-breach-at-sydney-nuclear-facility/10860708

 

March 2, 2019 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Spikes in radiation monitored during bushfires near Lucas Heights nuclear site

15th April 2018 – Residents told to “Shelter in place”, Peter Daley
technologypals.com.au, 20 Nov 18

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5617263/Sydney-bushfire-spreads-nuclear-reactor-army-base-residents-nearby-evacuated.html

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) local radiation monitor station shows significant spikes in radiation during the fire event.

Below are screen shots from the ANSTO radiation monitoring station at Endagine. Endagine is located East of the Lucas Heights reactor.

What caused this spike in local radiation?

Did the fire release local radioactive contamination?

Reactor venting?

Fault in equipment?

Their rainfall monitor shows it definitely was not raining at the time of these detections, so these detections can’t be explained away as Radon wash out events.

Radiation Spike plus rainfall chart 15th to 16th April

http://sccc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Australia-Sydney-ANSTO-Monitoring-site-15th-to-16th-April-2018.png

More Radiation detection spikes showing on the live Engadine ANSTO monitor station chart, 19th April.

http://sccc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Australia-Sydney-Engadine-ANSTO-live-Monitoring-Station-19th-April-2018.png

ANSTO live monitoring site,

http://www.ansto.gov.au/Resources/Localenvironment/Atmosphericmonitoring/Radiationmonitoring/index.htm

November 20, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Another radiation contamination incident at Australia’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor

Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in another contamination scare amid calls for safety review, By John Stewart and Rebecca Trigger, ABC Investigations 24 Oct 18 There has been another contamination scare at Australia’s only nuclear reactor in southern Sydney, in the same week a report was released recommending immediate action to review safety procedures at the site.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) confirmed five workers reported receiving a dose of radiation, but it was not above allowable limits.

………The Australian Manufacturers and Workers Union (AMWU) told the ABC at 11:30am on Tuesday, five employees working in the industrial handling bay inside building 23 were contaminated by an airborne iodine isotope.

The AMWU said one employee had been sent for thyroid scans, and another had to shave part of his beard off as it was carrying contaminates.

The scare came in the same week as a report into the ageing facility found it failed modern nuclear safety standards, and needed to be replaced, after another worker was exposed to radioactive material last year.

The union said Tuesday’s contamination was a result of comprehensive and repeated failures to protect the safety of workers at the site.

……….‘Legacy’ buildings at nuclear site need action, report finds

A worker was exposed to hazardous material after dropping a vial in an area of the facility known as building 23 in August last year.

The event was deemed the most serious in the world in 2017, according to the International Nuclear Event Scale.

A review conducted by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPNSA) following this incident, found two buildings at the site — 23 and 54 — were relatively old “legacy” facilities designed to meet 1950s-era standards, “and therefore may not fully meet modern standards of nuclear design, safety and operational workflows”.

“However, it should be noted that both facilities have met the safety requirements of the applicable regulators,” the report said.

The report also noted concerns around “unacceptable” behaviours including allegations of bullying and harassment of ANSTO staff.

ARPNSA made 85 recommendations, and directed ANSTO to “take immediate steps to initiate an independent review of the approach to occupational radiation safety of processes and operational procedures in B23″……..https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-24/contamination-scare-at-australias-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor/10422476

October 25, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Defence Department breached radiation regulations

Defence breached radiation regulations, THE AUSTRALIAN, By RORY CALLINAN, OCTOBER 22, 2018

The Defence Department has blamed poor record keeping for its failure to properly transport and dispose of small amounts of radioactive material contained in lighting systems accompanying old artillery pieces.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency found Defence had breached licence conditions in relation to the material in lighting systems associated with the Hamel 105mm towed light howitzers that were phased out of operation in 2018

Defence failed to comply with regulations in regard to disposing of controlled material without prior approval and not following the transport code for radioactive sources, said ARPANSA’s recently released annual report.

……. The spokesman said after investigating the matter, Defence had acted to ensure that similar incidents would not occur.

He said ARPANSA had been satisfied with the action taken and it accepted no radiation safety impacts as a result of the incident. No fines or enforcement action was warranted, he said.https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/defence-breached-radiation-regulations/news-story/543e133be974ee5cd69e0343f54a2201

October 23, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Safety problems at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor

 

 

 

Nuclear radiation spills spur Lucas Heights review, THE AUSTRALIAN, SIAN POWELL, Higher Education & Science Writer, Sydney SEAN PARNELL-Health Editor, Brisbane @seanparnell

Australia’s nuclear safety agency has ordered a review of Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear medicine facility after two radiation spills, and a separate investigation is under way into a mechanical failure that has caused delays in diagnostic tests across the country.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has had four safety breaches in 10 months and in recent weeks has had to call on US…….

Distribution of the replacement nuclear medicine supplies was also disrupted this month after airline delays from the US prevented the medicine reaching clinics and hospitals for some days……….

The supply problems caused by the mechanical failure have come as a review was ordered by the independent regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and its chief executive Carl-Magnus Larsson, who issued the organisation with a direction under the Aus­tralian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act.

The agency said the independent review it had directed would focus on quality control of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), the radio­active agent used in diagnostic imaging.

After the first safety breach when a staff member’s hands were contaminated on August 22 last year, ARPANSA found ANSTO to be noncompliant with its licence conditions, according to a statement from the safety agency.

“Three further events including the latest event on 7 June, 2018, indicate ongoing safety issues at ANSTO Health,” ARPANSA said………

An internal review is being conducted into the conveyor failure on June 22 while the separate independent safety review into the ageing ANSTO facility is ­undertaken.

ANSTO will appoint an independent reviewer. “This appointment is the next step on a path of continuous improvement.

“Using recommendations from the review, we’ll identify what more can be done to make that facility safer,” a spokesman for ANSTO said.

…….The conveyor has been fixed but compliance checks and a thorough audit will keep the production of nuclear medicine at a standstill for some time.

Repairs were originally delayed because ANSTO staff members were forced to wait until radiation levels in the conveyor room fell to a safe level……..https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/nuclear-radiation-spills-spur-lucas-heights-review/news-story/7c5f0c09e7847d8c0265e86c28d1e796

July 21, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Delay in production of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) at Lucas Heights

Fault at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor halts production of medical isotope, Guardian, 28 June 18 
Spokesman says no safety risk but there are fears patients could face delays in cancer diagnosis   “….. 
production of the most commonly used isotope in nuclear medicine was halted at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney’s south.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) usually produces about 10,000 doses a week of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is used to diagnose a variety of heart, lung and musculoskeletal conditions, as well as cancers.

An Ansto spokesman said production was temporarily suspended on Friday “after a mechanical fault was identified with a piece of equipment”. There was no safety risk due to the stoppage, he said………https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jun/28/fault-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor-halts-production-of-medical-isotope

 

June 29, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Past accidents at Lucas Heights don’t augur well for nuclear dump plan

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA  Today the 18th of March is another red letter day in the nuclear arena with the 31st anniversary of a accident at Lucas Heights, but first lets jump forward 29 years to the Hawker nuclear community meeting on the 6th of May 2016, where a man named Bruce Wilson from the DIIS whom chaired such meeting, a man who could be a totally inept clairvoyant, a nuclear decision psychopath, a misinformed government payed nuclear spruiker, or just a sad ignorant man.

This is a man whom said “We will NOT have accidents” while the opposing dichotomy believes in the old dictum “Pray for the best, prepare for the worst” and the such dichotomy keeps giving a resounding NO to a deadly radioactive dump, which keeps falling on deaf ears of the liars who said they would walk away from a community that doesn’t want to accept it.

Now lets return to the anniversary of the 1987 accident where a fire at Lucas Heights nuclear research laboratory resulted in the contamination of two workers and the discharge of radioactive gas into the atmosphere over populated areas.

Yes, Bruce this was a accident, however there was an event two years prior to such accident that may be called a purpose when alleged vandals dodged security patrols and smashed a underground pipe, releasing radioactive effluent into river ways. (What was this pipe made of, maybe brittle 2mm plastic?).

Are we to believe Bruce that there wont be anymore accidents, maybe because accidents will be suppressed, or called a planed event, or re-classed as “Technically produced anomalies” just like the erroneous, magniloquent re-classing of high grade waste to intermediate waste in an attempt to try and push through a egregious program while attempting to insult the intelligence of the majority of informed South Australians who don’t want a risky radioactive dump here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

March 19, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Human error caused 71% of Australia’s radiation incidents in 2016: not a good omen for transporting radioactive trash

 Anti-Nuclear Coalition South Australia   Australian Radiation Incident Register 2016, ARPANSA

71% of incidents was caused by human error, primarily in hospital based medical procedures. Radioactive waste had no statistically meaningful contribution within the Register.

Transporting radioactive waste across the country is bound to increase the probability of human error in previously unaffected environments nationwide; whilst placing a radioactive suppository in South Australia will not reduce human errors in hospitals.

https://www.arpansa.gov.au/s…/g/files/net3086/f/arir2016.pdf

February 3, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

“Significant radiation dose” received by Lucas Heights worker in nuclear accident

Radioactive liquid spills on worker at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/radioactive-liquid-spills-on-worker-at-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor-in-sydney/news-story/a14c71d0d093ddad94d39f5ea614359f, Peter Jean, Political Reporter, The Advertiser, December 14, 2017 A WORKER received a “significant radiation dose” when a vial of radioactive liquid spilt onto their hands in the most serious recorded safety incident to ever occur at Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor.

The Advertiser can reveal the accident occurred on August 22 when a vial of the nuclear medicine product Molybdenum-99 was dropped when its cap was being removed during a quality-control test. The incident was rated “severe” by regulators and has led to changes in safety procedures.

Molybdenum-99 is produced by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation at Lucas Heights, below, for use in cancer and heart disease scans.

ANSTO Health general manager Mark Moore said the analyst has a slightly elevated risk of developing skin cancer after the liquid spilt on their hands.

“The analyst was working in a shielded fume cupboard that, in normal operation, limits a dose received, but the dropping of the vial resulted in the radiation dose,’’ Mr Moore said.

“Our employee remains at work and is currently performing alternative quality assessment work in the nuclear medicine field.”

Mr Moore said the staff member had burn-like symptoms, including blistering and reddening of the skin.

“While ANSTO is still waiting to be advised on the final estimate dose by an independent clinical specialist, we know it was above the annual statutory dose limit of 500 millisieverts, and expect to be issued with a formal breach from the regulator,” Mr Moore said.

“At this stage, the dose is estimated to be more than 20 Sieverts, which is 40 times above the extremity dose limit.”

The incident was reported to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

An ARPANSA investigation criticised some safety practices in Lucas Heights’ radiopharmaceutical production facilities.

December 15, 2017 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales, reference | Leave a comment