Unanticipated Alpha Levels in Sample Bag

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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID


Topics:  Work Management/Planning, Radiation Protection

A researcher in an INL lab was coating Low Enriched Uranium graphite blocks with epoxy. As a personal best practice, the lab space coordinator informed the Radiological Control Operations Department that two freshly coated blocks would be left out overnight. A radiological control technician surveyed two clear plastic bags located on the labs benchtop that had earlier contained the graphite blocks. A survey of the internals of the bags indicated alpha levels higher than anticipated. To rule out natural occurrences of heightened alpha readings, the RCT completed several re-evaluations. Upon confirmation of the elevated alpha levels inside the plastic bags, the RCT surveyed the surrounding areas in the lab, the equipment used and the waste generated. No other contamination was found. The researcher who performed the epoxy coating was also surveyed and found to have no contamination on his clothing or belongings.

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