Friends, Note the attached copy of a web page by ENS that seems to primarily intend to broadcast on the NRC daily events reporting. (If you're on a MAC, this Microsoft .mht format will likely be broken up. If not, let me know what browser you're using. :) Regards, Jim Muckerheide
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Title: Environment News Service (ENS)
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- Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 19:30:19 -0400
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Daily Chronicles of Nuclear Radiation
ROCKVILLE, Maryland, September 2, 2004 (ENS) - Incidents of nuclear radiation and problems with power plants across the United States were reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over the past week as they must be, by law. It was a little busier than usual - one manual scram, one fire, and it was a typical week in that at least one moisture gauge, containing a radioactive source, was stolen out of a truck somewhere in America.
The Commission makes these events public on its daily Event Report. Here are some misadventures from this week back to a little earlier this summer.
At 08:35 Monday, August 30, operators took manual control and rapidly shut the Unit One reactor at Nine Mile Point down from full power - a hot shutdown.
Constellation Nuclear, the operator of the New York power plant located on Lake Ontario near Oswego, New York," issued a 4-Hour Non-Emergency notification on the incident. The trouble started when operators "noted oscillations on 13 Feedwater flow control valve," but the scram went according to plan.
The operators inserted the control rods manually, the reactor went into hot shutdown. "All control rods fully inserted and the plant responded as designed to the scram," the operator reported.
Nine Mile Point Nuclear Power Plant on Lake Ontario six miles north of Oswego, New York (Photo courtesy NRC)Switched on December 26, 1974, Nine Mile Point 1 is one of the nation's two oldest reactors still in service.
Last week, the reactor's parent company Constellation Energy of Baltimore announced that its R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant about 60 miles west along the lakeshore near Rochester, would be the site of a new state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Facility and adjoining Joint News Center, "to support response efforts in the unlikely event of an emergency situation."
A fire in a condensate pump at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in Michigan on Tuesday, August 31, prompted operators to manually shut it down to 95 percent power.
The Reactor Protection System was activated, but the fire was extinguished in less than 10 minutes. The local fire department was notified, responded to the site as a precautionary measure, but was not used in extinguishing the fire. All systems functioned as designed. The plant is now 100 percent shut down.
The Palisades Nuclear Power Plant (Photo courtesy NRC)"The local fire department was notified, responded to the site as a precautionary measure, but was not used in extinguishing the fire. All systems functioned as designed," reported the operator, Nuclear Management Co., LLC
Medical misadministrations of radioactive substances are reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) every week or so, sometimes more frequently.
On August 17, the Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center notified the state of Alabama of a misadministration involving Iodine-131.
The dose prescribed was 25 microcuries of I-131 and the dose administered was 3.0 millicuries, a much greater amount.
The hospital told the state that "the imaging technologist misunderstood the referring physician's request and the dose was not approved by the authorized user." The hospital indicated in their report that there were "no apparent effects to the patient." Corrective measures included reinstructing personnel and ensuring that all procedures are approved by the authorized user.
The Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California got the location wrong for a 93 year old man's cancer treatment and on August 18 irradiated the air instead of the tumor.
Another medical misadministration occurred on August 5 at Childrens' Hospital in New Orleans. The patient was "an uncooperative 20 year old Down's Syndrome who was to be injected with 20 mCi of Tc-99m MDP for a bone scan," reported the Louisiana Radiation Protection Division.
Radioactive substances are used widely in modern medicine. Here a robot manipulator holds a vial of Yttrium-90 in a hot cell. (Photo courtesy Nuclear Medicine Research Council)"While attempting to restrain the patient the technologist mistakenly reached for and injected a much smaller 4.2 mCi DMSA renal scan dose. The patient was notified of the error and later injected with the correct dose. The technologist was been counseled to obtain assistance when performing such administrations in the future," the agency reported.
On July 20 at the Dow Chemical Solvents Plant in Plaquemine, Louisiana, up to 16 workers had their hands and arms exposed to radiation while replacing the insulation on a manufacturing vessel.
The Louisiana Radiation Protection Division reported to the Commission that a "conservative estimate" of five minutes total continuous exposure time over this period at a distance of five inches from the source yield a potential exposure of 421 millirems, the agency said.
Medical screening was performed on all potentially exposed workers, the results were reviewed with them and officials say they observed "no effects."
Humans receive a dose of about 360 millirems per year of radiation from natural sources, plus typically about 63 mrem/yr from human sources, so these workers were exposed to about a year's worth of radiation that day.
"The cause of the incident was failure to lock out a radiation shield" before starting work, the state agency reports. Lock out procedures for the facility have been reviewed and strengthened to prevent reoccurrence.
Gauges containing radioactive sources regularly are stolen, lost, or crushed by trucks in a workyard. On August 19 a moisture density gauge containing 10 millicuries of Cesium 137 and 50 milliCuries of Americium 241 was stolen out of a Las Vegas contractor's truck.
On July 21, a Niton Analyzer with serial number 6067 with 40 milliCuries of Fe-55 and 30 milliCuries of Am-241 came up missing," from Northrup Grumman Ship Systems in Avondale, Louisiana.
"The security department was notified immediately," the Louisiana Radiation Protection Division said. "Signs were posted at all clock stations and exit gates. Security also checked the employees when they were leaving the yard." Attempts to locate the analyzer were unsuccessful, it could not be found.
View the daily Event Notification Reports at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission site: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/ 1
Quote of Note "Universal responsibility is the best foundation both for our personal happiness and for world peace, the equitable use of our natural resources, and, through a concern for future generations, the proper care for the environment."
-- Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2004. All Rights Reserved.
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