Five Exposed to Radiation at Nuclear Research Facility in Japan (News)
Tokyo, June 6 (Jiji Press)—Five staff members were exposed to radiation during an inspection of nuclear fuel on Tuesday at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency's research facility in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo.
No injuries or external leakage of radioactive material were reported in connection with the incident that occurred at around 11:15 a.m. (2:15 a.m. GMT) at the fuel research wing of the JAEA's Ōarai Research and Development Center in the town of Ōarai, the agency said.
According to the agency, a vinyl bag covering a metal container for oxidized plutonium and uranium used for nuclear fuel burst during the inspection, showering the materials on the five's limbs and ears, and other parts of their bodies.
The agency said it has never experienced such an incident before. It is investigating the cause.
22,000 Becquerels of Plutonium Detected in N-Research Center Staff
Tokyo, June 7 (Jiji Press)—The Japan Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday that 22,000 becquerels of radioactive plutonium-239 was detected in the lung of a staff member exposed to radiation at the agency's research facility in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo.
The agency said 220 becquerels of radioactive americium-241 was also found in the lung of the person in his 50s.
He was exposed to radiation with four other staff members in an accident that occurred when they were checking containers of plutonium and uranium oxide at the agency's Ōarai Research and Development Center in the town of Oarai on Tuesday.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Ishikawa Keiji, a senior JAEA official in charge of nuclear security, said, "As far as I can remember, no one has inhaled plutonium at this level."[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]