NRC: International Isotopes vows action after worker exposed to excess radiation

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said on Thursday that it has issued a Confirmatory Action Letter on International Isotopes and its agreed-upon actions prior to resuming its operations.

The letter documents actions that the company plans to take following an accident at the company's facility in Idaho Falls, Idaho, that led to an employee being exposed to radioactive material in an attempt to move a source of Cobalt-60 into another shielded container. The radiation that the technician experienced was above those allowed by the NRC. The incident occurred on Aug. 20.

After this incident, the NRC dispatched an inspector to the facility to review the sequence of events and to monitor the facility's immediate response. The NRC will be evaluating the actions of the company in response to this event and will be developing a more detailed chronology of the events leading up to the accident.

“We are conducting a follow-up inspection to better understand the circumstances that contributed to this incident and to evaluate actions that International Isotopes has taken to ensure their workers are adequately protected,” Region IV Administrator Marc Dapas said.

The NRC said the exposed worker is not expected to have adverse health effects as a result of this incident. The technician has since been sent to a local hospital to determine the extent of the individual's exposure.

Transfer actions similar to this will not be taking place at the Idaho Falls facility until sufficient corrective action has been taken and verified.

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