Saturday, February 03, 2001

Paducah exposure records incomplete




The Associated Press

        PADUCAH, Ky. — A study concerning past radiation exposure at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant is a best effort, considering notable gaps in records, an investigator said.

        “We recognize that as a shortcoming,” Rick Jones, the Department of Energy's lead investigator for the study, said during a briefing Thursday night.

        Nearly 200 people — employees or former employees and their families — attended the briefing.

        The DOE report, released last month, said 2,500 to 4,000 plant workers had jobs from 1952 to 1991 placing them in potentially high risk of radiation exposure. But important exposure-level records were missing, and much of the data collected were from interviewing current and former employees.

        Former employee Al Puckett said he once put his film badge, used to measure external radiation, in a highly radioactive area of the plant and the badge showed nothing. “One day, I took my badge apart and there was no film in there,” he said.

        Current plant health physicist Orville Cypret, who reviewed the report as a citizen and not as a U.S. Enrichment Corp. employee, said it had many errors, looked unprofessional and apparently did not undergo peer review before release. Despite that, Mr. Cypret said he agreed with “most of the conclusions.”

        The report confirms previous studies and statements by former workers about dangerous working conditions and procedures during the plant's early years. DOE officials say the intent was to identify former workers eligible for exposure-related benefits.

       



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- Paducah exposure records incomplete
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