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Plutonium found in urine of five workers exposed to radiation via The Japan Times

A small amount of radioactive materials — plutonium and americium — was found in the urine of five workers exposed to radiation in an accident earlier this month at a nuclear research facility in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The result shows that the five workers have suffered internal radiation exposure following the June 6 accident at the Oarai Research & Development Center, operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA).

[…]

Initially, the agency said up to 22,000 becquerels of plutonium-239 were found in the lungs of one of the workers, while 5,600 to 14,000 becquerels of the radioactive substance were found in the lungs of three other workers. It said at the time that the four had suffered internal radiation exposure.

But the facility operator has since said a subsequent check by the National Institute of Radiological Sciences has found no plutonium in the lungs of any of the five workers. It has not ruled out the possibility that what was actually detected was radioactive substance left on the workers’ bodies after decontamination.

The national institute, meanwhile, has said that americium was found in the lungs of at least one of the five workers.

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