Plutonium leak detected after accident at IAEA laboratory

August 4th, 2008 - 3:35 am ICT by IANS  

Vienna, Aug 4 (DPA) Plutonium leaked after an accident at a research laboratory at the the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) near Vienna early Sunday morning, the UN nuclear watchdog said. The accident occurred at 2:30 a.m. in the IAEA Safeguards Analytical Laboratory in Seibersdorf, 35 km southeast of the Austrian capital.

“Pressure build-up in a small sealed sample bottle in a storage safe resulted in plutonium contamination of a storage room (at the laboratory),” a statement from the IAEA said.

Radiation was not released to the environment, the statement said, but further monitoring would be carried out.

“The laboratory is equipped with multiple safety systems, including an air-filtering system to prevent the release of radioactivity to the environment,” the statement said.

There was nobody working in the laboratory at the time of the accident, and access to it would be restricted until the affected areas were decontaminated.

The IAEA said it had informed the environment ministry in Vienna of the incident.

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