Jan 28, 2008

Another Contamination Event?

This was sent in by a reader.

-Gus

[Update, 1/26/2008: I'm pushing this post back up to the top of the blog, on the off chance that LANS management is attempting to cover up the event. If the event occurred as reported, there should have been an announcement by now. That leaves just two reasons for us not to have received an official announcement: either it didn't happen, or it did and they are trying to make it go away.

Not, mind you, that I am suggesting that LANS would attempt a cover-up...]

______________________________________

Hey folks - news flash. Big radiation exposure at the LANL hotcells facility yesterday. Operated by chemistry division/ADCLES. Division leader is out of town. Big cover up going on. Many people exposed to radioactive germanium. Lots of labs have been shut down due to proximity to the hotcells ... it is that bad. Just like the Americium incident/coverup all over again...hush, hush.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

So what happened? Did anyone get hurt? Why is it that we get to hear about all the trips, slips, and falls daily in our "lovely Links" but nothing about this?

Anonymous said...

Any more information about this cover up?.

Anonymous said...

Well, is it really a big deal, or is it a household smoke detector sort of thing?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if D'Agostino will hear about it on this blog first. Think he's getting a late night call tonight?

Anonymous said...

10:49, I am guessing the latter -

Anonymous said...

I know of only one cold lab that has been shut down and that is the one where most of the postdocs work at TA-48. As usual, more meetings than any action are taking place. People are upset and are being told to keep their holes closed or else... where are NNSA, LASO and friends when you need them?

Anonymous said...

If the incident (if there was one)exceeded certain thresholds, it was certainly reported to NNSA in the required timeline (as was the Am contamination years ago and everything else the press likes to trumpet) - get over it. The fact that the NY Times or POGO was not informed in a timely manner is laughable. D'Agostino will hear it from the NNSA EOC, if he cares to listen to his pages.

Anonymous said...

1/24/08 10:25 PM wrote "Any more information about this cover up?"

follow the money ... just look at the org chart to see who is in charge and you will get your answers.

Anonymous said...

Please explain exactly what is meant by a "big cover up". Was the event itself "big" (i.e., really nasty), or just the cover-up part?

Anonymous said...

Will this affect Mikey's bonus?

Anonymous said...

Not to worry, everybody. The LANS Corporate Veil of Secrecy will prevent any of the details of this latest fubar from leaking out. Make sure you all do your part here: mum's the word.

Anonymous said...

Radioactive geraniums make a wonderful valentines day present for your sweetheart.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they use that germanium to make radioactive crystal radio sets...

Anonymous said...

"Radioactive geraniums make a wonderful valentines day present for your sweetheart."

Is that you, Andrei Lugovoi?

Anonymous said...

Have you all noticed how silent LANS is on this latest event? Will they succeed in burying this story, or will it leak out, like the germanium?

Anonymous said...

Risk Management for Hazardous Chemicals has germanium exposure information starting at pg. 1527.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps LANS has decided that the the exposure facts relating to this incident are not germane.

Anonymous said...

If, as the original poster states, this episode is like that Americium-241 event then the contamination got carried off-site. Is that the case?

Anonymous said...

These events have now been classified as LANS "proprietary" information. You'll hear no more about it.

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard anything about germanium. This must be a hoax or something.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this is just POGO yelling about the sky falling again.

Anonymous said...

No hoax, three people had intakes of germanium-68 on Wednesday.

Possible KSL connection.

Anonymous said...

If this is true, I'd like to see more specific evidence before I start beleiving any of the usual LANL haters on this blog. On the surface, this sounds like a BS plant meant to create news.

Anonymous said...

8:55 pm, you are unreal. Ask all the people who work at the TA-48 hotcells. Ask the AD or the DL who has been protecting the pet program he used to run. And I hope you apologize to the people who got crapped up.

Anonymous said...

Silence is golden. We've bought a whole weekend to dig for dirt on these three.

Anonymous said...

Is any of this crap dangerous? Or are the chicken littles just borking the helpless again?

If we are going to fuss, please let there be a reason other than one scintillation past a standard.

If lives or health is compromised, give notice, otherwise clean the shit up and get back to work.

God, what nannies we work for. Grow some functioning testicles.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that if you consume enough radioactive germanium, growing an additional testicle is only the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1/25/08 4:44 AM asks:
"Will this affect Mikey's bonus?"

The answer is: "yes, of course it will. Mikey will edict that we all take some kind of training and then will get an increased bonus for his rapid response to the incident!"

Of course a few low-level workers will have to be fired and their immediate supervisors will have a week off without pay. That is a small price to pay for increasing Mikey's bonus.

Anonymous said...

12:46am, if you had clicked the link to the online book that was provided by 12:34pm, you would've seen that:

"Germanium is considered moderately toxic by inhalation and ingestion. Human and animal data are lacking in the references. There is no information on the carcinogenic, teratogenic, or mutagenic properties of germanium. However, some germanium compounds, such as tributyl germanium and germanium tetrachloride are known mutagens and dimethyl germanium is a confirmed teratogen."

And also, "Because germanium can be highly reactive, explosion-proof ventilation is recommended."

So, you potentially could experience some testicular changes but I'd expect that the effect will be that there will be bigger pricks with raging tempers as an outcome.

Anonymous said...

9:20 from 8:55

Chill out.
If it happened as I see here, then it's bad BS and I'm sorry for those who got contaminated.

But there's no reason for me to have to make a call to people in 46 who won't give me a straight answer.
Until I see something from the Lab who HAS to make a report I'm sure as hell not going to completly believe the heresay that runs rampant in these threads.
The worst thing Lab management can do is try to cover it up, because when the truth comes out...and it always comes out...the price they pay for their attempt at secrecy will hurt them more than for the incident itself.

I was hoping just to get better verification and what do I get? Typical blog attitude.

YOU apologize to me.

Anonymous said...

8:17 AM,
I'm assuming you couldn't copy and paste from that online book either, so thank you for typing the quotes. Also, your prediction sounds well informed.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know if the contamination incident was 100% contained within the building (hood, cell etc.).. or was there a possible venting to the vicinity outside (outdoors)?

Anonymous said...

11:10 AM. Good question. The inhabitants of the building aren't being told anything. The management chain in charge of the hotcells are keeping information sealed tight on this one - lots and lots of people have been having meetings about the event but nobody is speaking. Very spooky.

Anonymous said...

Which building is it?

Anonymous said...

Building 48/1.

And the management chain has plenty to lose here.

ADCLES... 'nuff said. She has both line responsibility for C Division, and RAD responsibility for TA-48.

The Chemistry DL is the former project leader for medical radioisotope production.

ADCLES' hubby is the National Isotopes Program Manager - whatever that means.

And ADCLES' former postdoc and running buddy is the new medical radioisotopes program manager.

Not that I'm suggesting a cover-up is underway.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Gus, there is a third possibility; that the FBI is investigating because the isotopic Ge was purposefully taken out of the building.

Anonymous said...

"God, what nannies we work for. Grow some functioning testicles." - 12:46 AM

I guess you didn't see the new LANS management policy. All testicles will be removed before entering any Secure area at LANL.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget to mention that recently there was a huge story done on the isoptopes program/hotcells in 1663 and the LANL external web page and with big posters in the NSSB buidling. I would post the 1663 link, but don't know how. Maybe someone else can send the pdf to Gus.

Anonymous said...

Well, my GL sent my group an e-mail. The event did happen. It is not a hoax.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Any chance we could get a copy of the email, 12:39?

-Gus

Anonymous said...

Nothing in the ORPS report. Last ORPS contamination event was yesterday at ORNL. Unlikely the LANL event occurred as amplified here on the blog

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, High Flux Isotope Reactor
SC-ORO--ORNL-X10HFIR-2008-0001 - Clothing Contamination at Bldg. 7900 - (Significance Category 4)
A particle of Co-60 contamination was found on a craftsman's personal T-shirt upon exit from a radiological area, with maximum total contamination levels of 400,000 dpm/100cm2 beta-gamma. No other contamination was detected. The craftsman alarmed a personnel contamination monitor upon exit from a radiological area on the Ground Floor Water Wing following doffing of personal protective clothing. Contamination levels on his protective clothing were less than 1,000 dpm/100cm2. The T-shirt was retained by RPO personnel.

Anonymous said...

I guess there would not be an ORPS report, 3:17, if LANL management was attempting a(nother) cover-up (again). I hope 12:39 or someone else in his group can send a copy of the purported email about the event to this blog. A year and a half ago LANL kept the lid on the Am-241 contamination episode for 10 days until the story broke on the LTRS blog.

Anonymous said...

It has happened prior to that too.

Anonymous said...

"Not, mind you, that I am suggesting that LANS would attempt a cover-up."

Of course not. Bahaahaaaaa!

Anonymous said...

Would the poster who's group leader sent the e-mail regarding the event, please share it with us, so we would know if it did truly happen?
Thanks....

Anonymous said...

> Until I see something from the Lab
> who HAS to make a report I'm sure
> as hell not going to completly
> believe the heresay
> that runs rampant in these threads.

You either meant heresy or hearsay.
I'm not sure which... Maybe you meant both?

Anonymous said...

AGREEMENT STATE - STOLEN RADIOACTIVE SOURCES

State of Florida Bureau of Radiation Control reported that licensee notified their agency of 3 missing Germanium 68 sources from their General Electric PET CT Hybrid Imaging device. The sources were discovered missing on 10/15/04. It has not been determined when the sources were last known to be in the possession of the licensee.

The sources were model number B3-693, serial Number 1004-09, 4.3 millicuries; model number B2-125, serial number 1004-02, 4.3 millicuries; model number A9-313, serial number 973-87, 0.58 millicuries. Specific activity of sources is corrected for decay as of 10/15/04. The Naples Police Department is investigating the possible theft. The Florida Bureau of Radiation Control also notified the Regional Terrorism Task Force in Fort Myers and the Florida State Warning Point.

Florida Incident # 04-137.

* * * UPDATE PROVIDED BY JERRY EAKINS TO JEFF ROTTON @ 1515 EDT ON 10/15/04 * * *

Florida Bureau of Radiation Control investigator found the sources on the licensee premises. The sources had been placed under the cushion of a supervisor's chair. Naples Police Department is continuing their investigation into any potential criminal activity. The estimated exposure to the supervisor was 60 mR based on 4 hours of exposure.

Notified the R1DO (McDermott) and NMSS EO (Essig)

Anonymous said...

"I guess there would not be an ORPS report, 3:17, if LANL management was attempting a(nother) cover-up (again)."

Well, if the 10CFR824 fines were not enough, I guess I'd be surprised at playing with the 10CFR851 or PAAA fire. Generally, all occurances (safety & security) are reported through the proper channels, then later amplified by the DOE or the Hill out of proportion.

Anonymous said...

7:57 pm is absolutely correct. In fact the earlier AM-121 "event" was NOT covered up - there was the required ORPS report, as I am sure there was for this (if it occurred) event. The fact that the public has not gotten hold of it menas the system is working - finally! ORPS requires that occurences that result in public contamination MUST be made public. Why are so many posters on this blog so clueless when simple web searches could avoid the (perhaps intentional) confusion? Are all LANL employees so absolutely clueless about the operations (and rules for such) of the facilities in which they work?? The rules are not secret, folks, you just have to have a little curiosity about your environment (oh, and not a desire to be spoon-fed every piece of information that is not related to your "science").

Anonymous said...

"ORPS requires that occurences that result in public contamination MUST be made public."

Could you spoon feed me a url for that?

Anonymous said...

People - no e-mail has appeared and so it would seem this is in fact a big hoax. No proof just talk. Despite what 11:48 am implies, ADCLES would not be covering anything up. In fact, she is very big about encouraging people to report any off-normal events without fear of retaliation.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, she is very big about encouraging people to report any off-normal events without fear of retaliation."

Evidence please.

Anonymous said...

8:49 PM, what are you some toady? Or maybe anyone of the individuals listed by 11:48 am? I am getting pretty sick and tired of reading some of the management postings who are clearly trying to make it seem like nothing happened in the hotcells. I - along with many others - f*cking lived it this week. I can't believe I am reading the posts that it did not happen. Amazing ...

Anonymous said...

8:47 pm: ""ORPS requires that occurences that result in public contamination MUST be made public."

Could you spoon feed me a url for that?"

OK, lazyboy, here's the spoon-feed: From DOE Order 151.1C COMPREHENSIVE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

I couldn't get the url to copy but: www.directives.doe.gov/pdfs/doe/doetext/neword/i51/o1511c.pdf/

EVENTS REQUIRING CLASSIFICATION. Operational Emergencies must be
classified as either an Alert, Site Area Emergency, or General Emergency, in order of
increasing severity, when events occur that represent a specific threat to workers and the
public due to the release or potential release of significant quantities of hazardous
materials from DOE/NNSA facilities/activities/operations.

RESPONSE PHASE.
a. Initial Emergency Notifications. For Operational Emergencies, initial emergency
notifications must be made to workers, emergency response personnel, and organizations, including DOE/NNSA elements and other local, State, Tribal, and
Federal organizations.

(1) The Manager/Administrator of each DOE-/NNSA- or contractor-operated site/facility must—

(a) notify State and local officials and the Cognizant Field Element Emergency Operation Center and Headquarters Operations Center
within 15 minutes and all other organizations within 30 minutes of
the declaration of an Alert, Site Area Emergency, or General
Emergency [Chapter V, paragraph 3];
VIII-2 DOE O 151.1C
11-2-05

(b) notify the Cognizant Field Element Emergency Operation Center
and Headquarters Operations Center within 30 minutes of the
declaration of an Operational Emergency not requiring
classification [Chapter V, paragraph 2]; and

(c) notify local, State, and Tribal organizations within 30 minutes or as established in mutual agreements for declaration of an Operational Emergency not requiring classification [Chapter V, paragraph 2].

Anonymous said...

9:47 pm: "I - along with many others - f*cking lived it this week. I can't believe I am reading the posts that it did not happen. Amazing ..."

Then, why are you not willing (even anonymously) to give some details. Just to prove something did happen and you aren't lying??

Anonymous said...

.....move along....nothing to see here....

Pinky and The Brain said...

Ok everybody, ease up on this person. We have no idea what is going on yet.

If you want to send me or Gus a private email you can find our email addresses on the main blog page. Look on the left side near the bottom for "Contact Us".

- Pinky

Anonymous said...

God, what nannies we work for. Grow some functioning testicles.

1/26/08 12:46 AM


Every time they "function" there is glow. My wife is aganst luminescant cum, so what do I do?

The monkey in the mango tree?

What if we want kids?

Anonymous said...

59 posts and no facts.

Anonymous said...

A curious point is that Roark has been silent. The last several incidents LANS has been out there saying "whatever didn't happen and if it did it was no big deal". Where's the standard LANS PR denial on this one?
Any connection between this incident and the concrete barricades and guards suddenly surrounding the NISC building this week?

Anonymous said...

11:05:

You mean like the sudden fear that Mikey would find himself sitting in a chair with a Germanium 68 source stuffed under the cushion?

Seriously, I hear the FBI is investigating this incident, which is why there has been no public announcement form Kevin "My Lips Are Moving" Roarke.

Anonymous said...

maybe people are scared to post the e-mails. there is a long history of retaliation from group management in the group that runs the hot cells. just ask any of the RCTs who have tried to bring up safety issues. hell, I would be scared based upon the post by 11:48

Anonymous said...

The GL who was in charge of MST-6, when the Americium (cover up) happened, was promoted to Dep. Division Leader after the incident? He is now the Dep. Division Leader of MST....What does that tell you about the culture at this place?

Anonymous said...

If all the fine LANL citizens are as brave as 12:46 it's doubtful we'll ever see the GL's email.

If I could get my hands on a copy I'd send it off to Matt Drudge.

Then, when Drudge ignored it because the lab is yesterday's news, I'd send it to the blog.

Then I'd send a copy of the blog posting to Mikey and Kevin.

But I don't have a copy of the email because apparently everybody who did get it is afraid.

Huge surprise there. That's right, everybody, let's help the nice LANS managers cover up another incident. If you're all good little boys and girls maybe they won't put you on the next rif list.

Pinky and The Brain said...

Calm down. These people are probably watching HBO right now. They will find out what is happening at work tomorrow morning.

Anonymous said...

5:40 - you are an ass.

Anonymous said...

8:23,

5:40 speaks the truth. How does that make him an ass?

Wait, I think I get it -- you're one of the cowards, aren't you?

That's ok, don't worry about it. Every thing will be just fine.

Now, drink that nice tall glass of grape-flavored Kool Aid that Uncle Mikey made for you.

Anonymous said...

From 3:01 PM - "The GL who was in charge of MST-6, when the Americium (cover up) happened, was promoted to Dep. Division Leader after the incident? He is now the Dep. Division Leader of MST....What does that tell you about the culture at this place?"

Beautiful point! I'll match you. The Dep. Divison Leader of C-Division when the Aqua Regia Incident and responsible for the subsequent cover up and firing of the PD who disclosed the event was promoted to Division Leader of STB and in charge of the PD program ... What does that tell you about the culture at this place? Since Terry Wallace promote this person ...tells you a lot!

Pinky and The Brain said...

Get a grip 8:39 PM. It's Sunday night, what do you expect people to do right now? If you want to call them cowards tomorrow night I might join you, but for now please be reasonable.