NRC Notice on Cesium 137 Spill at Harborview 05/02/19

(The following is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) update on the Cs-137 spill at Harborview Hospital 05/02/19).

 

UNPLANNED CONTAMINATION EVENT DUE TO BREACHED CS-137 SOURCE

The Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) at International Isotopes, Inc. reported that at 2130 PDT on 5/2/19, while changing out the Cs-137 source on a research irradiator, they breached the source which resulted in widespread contamination and a possible uptake event. The irradiator is a JL Shepard Mark 168A and is located at the Harborview Research and Training Facility at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. International Isotopes, Inc. is an NRC licensee working under reciprocity in the State of Washington (an agreement state).

After discovery of the breach, the immediate area was isolated, the building was ordered evacuated, and the ventilation was secured. Indications are that the seven members of the source retrieval team were externally and potentially internally contaminated.

The State of Washington was notified. The University of Washington RSO was sending response teams to the area. A local hazardous material team is on site.

The source was reported to be 2800 Ci.

Notified DHS SWO, DOE Ops Center, FEMA Ops Center, HHS Ops Center, DHS NICC, USDA Ops Center, EPA Emergency Ops Center, FDA Emergency Ops Center (email), FEMA NWC (email), DHS Nuclear SSA (email), and FEMA NRCC SASC (email).

* * * UPDATE ON 05/03/2019 AT 1545 EDT FROM TRISTAN HAY TO JEFFREY WHITED * * *

The following update was received via E-mail from the Washington State Department of Health:

“University of Washington (UW) was having their research irradiator (Mark-1 SERIES / Cs-137) disposed of by International Isotopes (NRC License 11-27680-01MD). The Agreement state regulators were present to verify dose measurements and observe ALARA practices. During the source removal and transfer into the transport shielded cask, there was a breach of the sealed source and a small portion of the source was released into the working area. The working area was comprised of the irradiator unit, the shielded containment rig, the loading dock, a 100 feet radius around the loading dock, and the Harborview Research and Technology Center floors 1-3 and stair well. The source was encapsulated with International Isotopes’ source housing capsule. A breach was identified during the precursor wipe survey performed prior to putting it into the source housing unit. Once contamination was identified, all personnel performed area contamination surveys and secured and taped off the work space area. All personnel who were present at some point during the transfer were notified of the potential contamination and were given special instructions to return to the Harborview Medical Center area for decontamination.

“Simultaneously the NRC, Washington Radiation Emergency Hotline, and the [National Materials Event Database] NMED were notified of the situation by International Isotopes immediately after the incident occurred. Seattle Fire and Seattle Hazmat units were dispatched to the scene to assess the situation and begin decontamination protocols. The International Isotope workers, UW RSO, FBI agent, and other present workers were decontaminated and placed in a contained area of the Harborview Medical Center Emergency Room. Bioassay samples were collected from urine and blood from the contaminated individuals.”

Additionally, employees from the State of Washington who responded to the event were surveyed, with the highest level of contamination being 300 cpm on the individual’s shoes.

Washington State Licensee: University of Washington
Washington Agreement State License No. C001
Event Report ID No.: WA-19-015

Notified R4DO (Werner), IRD MOC (Gott), NMSS (Rivera-Capella), and NMSS Events Notification via e-mail, DHS SWO, DOE Ops Center, FEMA Ops Center, HHS Ops Center, DHS NICC, USDA Ops Center, EPA Emergency Ops Center, FDA Emergency Ops Center (email), FEMA NWC (email), DHS Nuclear SSA (email), and FEMA NRCC SASC (email).

* * * UPDATE ON 05/04/2019 AT 2136 EDT FROM JOHN MILLER TO JEFFREY WHITED * * *

The following update is a synopsis of information received via E-mail from International Isotopes:

In its E-mail, the licensee provided an initial incident report regarding the breached Cs-137 source incident that occurred during the removal of the source from the Research Irradiator at the Harborview Training and Research Building. The licensee provided a summary of planned work, a summary of the incident, a summary of the whole-body exposures received by International Isotopes and contractor employees, a summary of initial personnel skin contamination results, a summary of post-decontamination personnel skin contamination results, and a summary of recovery actions taken to date.

According to its assessment, the licensee indicated that the highest whole-body exposure to any one individual was 55 mrem. The majority of surveys taken at the loading dock level indicated that surfaces were contaminated in the 50,000 – 300,000 cpm range.

The summary of recovery actions taken to date are as follows:

International Isotopes hired a contractor to perform decontamination and remediation of the affected areas. The Department of Energy, Region 8, Radiological Assistance Program team surveyed the building floors. International Isotopes employees surveyed the parking lot area where emergency response operations took place reducing the size of the controlled area, marking spots with identified levels. The loading dock area was further isolated from the building by covering outdoor louvers and double door between corridor and loading dock with heavy plastic. International Isotopes remains on-site to support the contractor and the University of Washington by performing assessment surveys and development of the decontamination and recovery plan.

Notified R4DO (Werner), IRD MOC (Gott), NMSS (Kock), and NMSS Events Notification via e-mail, DHS SWO, DOE Ops Center, FEMA Ops Center, HHS Ops Center, DHS NICC, USDA Ops Center, EPA Emergency Ops Center, FDA Emergency Ops Center (email), FEMA NWC (email), DHS Nuclear SSA (email), and FEMA NRCC SASC (email).

* * * UPDATE AT 1648 EDT ON 05/16/2019 FROM JOHN MILLER TO JEFF HERRERA * * *

“This report provides an update to the May 2, 2019 incident involving the breached Cs-137 source.

“International Isotopes Inc. (INIS) performed dose estimates based on 24 hour urine samples collected from the INIS employees that were involved in the incident.

“There were seven INIS individuals involved, the INIS estimates are provided in the table below. Note that individuals 6 and 7 are not included in the LANL Report as their urine sample results were released later. These sample results have since been provided to LANL.

“Name; Time Between intake and sample (days); Concentration (pCi/L); Modeled Intake (uCi); Percent ALI; CED (mRem)

“Individual 1: 1.625; 15,700; 2.284; 1.142 Percent; 57.1
Individual 2: 1.396; 6,100; 1.235; 0.618 Percent; 30.9
Individual 3: 1.698; 1,280; 0.186; 0.093 Percent; 4.7
Individual 4: 1.665; 8,540; 1.242; 0.621 Percent; 31.1
Individual 5: 1.697; 19,800; 2.880; 1.440 Percent; 72.0

“Individual 6: 1.687; 5,540; 0.806; 0.403 Percent; 20.1
Individual 7: 1.437; 4,110; 0.624; 0.312 Percent; 15.6”

Notified R4DO (Proulx), IRD MOC (Kennedy), NMSS (Rivera Capella), and NMSS Events Notification via e-mail, DHS SWO, DOE Ops Center, FEMA Ops Center, HHS Ops Center, DHS NICC, USDA Ops Center, EPA Emergency Ops Center, FDA Emergency Ops Center (email), FEMA NWC (email), DHS Nuclear SSA (email), and FEMA NRCC SASC (email).

* * * UPDATE ON 05/20/2019 AT 1050 FROM INTERNATIONAL ISOTOPES TO KENDZIA * * *

The following update is a synopsis of information received via E-mail from International Isotopes:

International Isotopes provided a detailed update on internal and whole body doses, skin contamination and decontaminated results for the affected seven individuals. The highest internal dose was 57.1 mrem for individual 1, the highest whole body dose was 55 mrem for individual 7, and the highest dose to the skin from skin contamination was 36 mrem to individuals 3 and 4. Blood sampling of the individuals showed no changes due to radiation.

Facility decontamination continues. International Isotope management is in the process of conducting a detailed investigation in order to determine the direct, contributing, and root causes of this event.

Notified R4DO (Gepford) IRD MOC (Kennedy), and NMSS Events Notification via e-mail.

About admin 102 Articles
KODX-LP 96.9 Seattle is a Low Power FM Radio Station located in the University District of Seattle, WA.

1 Comment

  1. Isn’t individually 5 higher than individual number 1, who is stated to have the highest dose?

    Individual 5: 1.697; 19,800; 2.880; 1.440 Percent; 72.0

Leave a Reply