No release to environment after plutonium accident in lab: IAEA

August 29th, 2008 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, Aug 29 (DPA) No radioactivity was released outside the International Atomic Energy Agency’s laboratory after a small plutonium container burst in early August, the UN nuclear watchdog said Friday, citing independent analysis.On Aug 3, less than one gram of plutonium spilled in the Agency’s laboratory in Seibersdorf, around 35 km southeast of Vienna.

Michael Hlava, spokesman of the Austrian Research Centers (ARC), which analyzed samples outside the facility, confirmed to DPA that the environment was not contaminated.

“We did not find increased readings at any time,” he said.

As the incident took place overnight, no employees were contaminated. Nevertheless, the event caused a media uproar in Austria, where the population traditionally has a negative stance towards nuclear energy.

IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei last year called for 27.2 million euros ($40.1 million) to upgrade the security and infrastructure in the laboratory, which was involved in uncovering Iran’s secret nuclear activities.

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