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Argonne director orders suspension of work using small amounts of nuclear materials within a building


The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory Director Robert Rosner has ordered suspension of work using nuclear materials in two labs in one building on site effective July 3, 2007.

Rosner ordered this action at the conclusion of a laboratory evaluation of issues identified during a Department of Energy walkthrough to confirm compliance with nuclear facility requirements. These issues include deficiencies in housekeeping, and work planning and control systems important for safety. At no time was there a concern about a release of any hazardous material within the facilities or into the environment.

Argonne has already taken steps to package and remove unneeded materials from the facilities. In addition, Rosner has formed several teams to resolve immediate issues, determine the root causes of the deficiencies and determine if any other facilities at the laboratory have similar problems.

“Assuring the safety of our employees and the surrounding communities is, and will continue to be, Argonne’s top priority,” said Rosner. “I need to be convinced that the control systems for work with nuclear materials provide that assurance before I will propose restart of this work to DOE for approval.”

Materials stored in these two small facilities do not pose any danger to anyone outside the section of the building containing them, and the facilities themselves are confined, enclosed spaces that allow scientists to conduct experiments with hazardous materials.

Prior to restart, Argonne will complete a thorough review of all nuclear operations that is currently under way. Authorization to resume activities will require approval of the Laboratory director and DOE.


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