Thirty-one Hanford nuclear reservation workers inhaled very small amounts of radioactive material after a take-cover order for a contamination spread June 8.
An alarm sounded that morning at the Plutonium Finishing Plant when airborne radioactive contamination was detected as open-air demolition using heavy equipment was being done. Work was underway at the most contaminated part of the plant.
Initially, workers were not believed to be at risk because no contamination was found on the skin or protective clothing of workers, but employees were offered testing for internal contamination as a precaution.
But concerns increased when some of the initial tests showed contamination. Then Washington Department of Health air sampling results came back in August showing radioactive plutonium and americium particles in very low levels at the Rattlesnake security barricade three miles from the plant.
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