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US nuclear workers sue agency over accident

Last Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 12:49

Boise (US): Two workers who were exposed to radiation have sued the US Department of Energy, claiming they were wrongly denied documentation about the accident.

Brian Simmons and Ralph Stanton were among several workers packaging plutonium reactor fuel plates at the Idaho National Laboratory when they were exposed to radiation in 2011.

The men contend the federal agency wrongly denied them access to security video of the accident because it erroneously determined it was the property of a private contractor.

The accident happened in a building that once housed a nuclear reactor. Workers had been taking plutonium fuel out of storage when they came upon radioactive materials held in two containers, each marked with a label stating the containers were damaged.

After talking to supervisors, workers removed the wrapping on one container, and a radioactive black powder spilled out.

The workers had on lab coats and some had gloves, but none had respiratory gear or other protective clothing, according to a department report released this year.

Tim Jackson, a spokesman for the Department of Energy with the Idaho Operations Office, said the agency wouldn`t comment because the matter is in litigation.

First Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 12:49

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