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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Worker at URI Nuke exposed to excess radiation

It's the cube-shaped building that glows in the dark
URI says "no cause for alarm"
By Will Collette

The Associated Press is reporting tonight that the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be conducting a special investigation at Rhode Island's only nuclear reactor, a research facility at the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett.

Based on the AP account, apparently URI reported that one of the workers at the facility "entered the facility's dry gamma exposure room to calibrate a radiation probe as part of an experiment the facility was conducting."

According to the facility management, the worker was taking a temperature reading and may have been over-exposed to radiation. Since he was in the "dry gamma exposure room," I'm guessing it was gamma radiation (the worst kind) that he was exposed to.

As is much too common after such incidents, management downplayed the incident, saying the exposure was probably less radiation than a chest x-ray. That's their story.

This 50-year old 2 megawatt reactor has been controversial. It is run with government funding, including several million in Rhode Island tax dollars. Former state legislator Ray Rickman has been campaigning to get this old, obsolescent facility shut-down, but it keeps on ticking. URI says it is a valuable research and teaching tool. Perhaps now they can use it for training on how to respond to a nuclear accident.