LACEY – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission performed special inspections of Oyster Creek Generating Station after personnel found a box of uranium-containing monitors outside the nuclear power plant’s designated nuclear-containing Material Access Area.
The box of eight local power range monitors was found Oct. 6 under a pallet and other material inside the warehouse, where it mostly likely sat for decades, according to a letter from Exelon Generation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Nothing on the box marked the contents as containing radioactive material, according to the letter.
The monitors, which measure power inside of the nuclear reactor, contained less than a gram of uranium-235, said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Uranium-235 is radioactive. If ingested or inhaled, it can cause cancer or serious damage to major organs in the body, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Radiation is odorless and tasteless, so it can cause harm before someone realizes they are being exposed, he said.
Suzanne D’Ambrosio, spokeswoman for the nuclear power plant, said the monitors were found in a secured warehouse on the plant’s property.
“They were relocated by Exelon plant personnel to a location now under the supervised control of Oyster Creek’s Radiation Protection program and staff,” she wrote in an email. “There was never a radiological hazard to the public or employees. Radiological surveys confirmed no radioactivity from the devices, which appear to be at least 30 years old. The LPRMs (local power range monitors) were never used at Oyster Creek.”
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