NRC report: Duke researchers mishandled radioactive material

March 2, 2017 GMT

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A report from a federal agency says Duke University researchers mishandled radioactive material during an experiment last month.

The Duke Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/2lEivtr) that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said a sample of Uranium-235 was “compromised and assumed to be leaking” during an experiment on Feb. 11. The incident was not reported until Feb. 15.

According to the report, traces of Uranium-235 were found on one physicist’s toilet, and it was promptly decontaminated.

Jim Jones, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, said the radioactive material leaked from a sealed capsule a laboratory. Jones said the incident is under investigation.

Uranium-235 can be used as fuel for nuclear power plants and the nuclear reactors that run ships and submarines. It also can be used in nuclear weapons.


Information from: Chronicle-Duke University, http://www.chronicle.duke.edu/