Low levels of plutonium found in air at Hanford nuclear site
RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) - State health officials say radioactive plutonium and americium have been found in air samples collected where workers enter the secure area of the Hanford nuclear reservation in southeastern Washington.
The Tri-City Herald reported Tuesday that the air samples were collected by the state Department of Health on June 8 at the Rattlesnake Barricade just off of public Highway 240.
That was the day workers at the Plutonium Finishing Plant were ordered to take cover indoors because of an airborne release of radioactive particles during demolition of the highly contaminated facility.
John Martell, manager of the Radioactive Air Emissions Section of the Department of Health, says the levels of contamination in the samples were "very, very low."
Other health officials said the contamination levels are not a health risk.
The Department of Energy and Department of Health are investigating.