Boulder: Speck of plutonium spilled at lab |

Boulder: Speck of plutonium spilled at lab

BOULDER, Colorado ” A vial with about a 1/4 gram of powder containing plutonium cracked and spilled radioactive particles in a lab, exposing 22 workers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to trace contamination.

Two workers, who had worked directly with the radioactive material Monday, got rid of the contamination by washing their hands. NIST officials said most of the 20 other nearby workers had trace contamination on their shoes and clothing, which was washed off.

Workers were using the plutonium containing powder for a project to improve radiation detectors for use by nuclear inspectors. The lab has been sealed off.

An NIST spokesman on Tuesday said the incident has been reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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