The U.S. Department of Energy confirmed an emergency incident at the Idaho National Laboratory site on Wednesday April 11 that involved a ruptured 55-gallon barrel of radioactive waste, which brought rescue personnel to the scene, but ultimately did not pose any risk to the public.
Officials acknowledged the incident on Thursday. Included in subsequent reports, officials said three firefighters were taken to a local medical facility after coming into contact with the “radioactive sludge” that came from waste shipped to Idaho from a weapons production site (Rocky Flats) near Denver, Colorado. The barrels are being shipped again, this time to a storage site in New Mexico.
The incident took place in the Idaho Cleanup Project's Radioactive Waste Management Complex, according to media reports.
An AP report noted that DOE spokeswoman Danielle Miller told reporters that firefighters did not inhale any radioactive material into their lungs and that the release was contained inside the building where the rupture occurred.
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