Seriously, we have to have a rule to not put Uranium in your pocket?
Following an investigation by its inspector general, the Department of Energy has issued a new rule for its workers that it should refrain from putting highly enriched uranium in your pockets.
“After interviewing chemical operators and reviewing revised Y-12 procedures, we confirmed that chemical operators are no longer allowed to place samples in their pockets and must check their pockets before removing their coveralls,” a report by the DOE Office of Inspector General noted.
The report, which was released in September, revealed a safety violation that took place at the DOE’s Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in 2014, involving highly enriched uranium found in the pocket of an employee’s uniform as it was being hauled away on a laundry truck.
The incident in question took place on Jan. 22, 2014 and involved samples of “highly enriched uranium (HEU), a special nuclear material (SNM),” which were “discovered in the pocket of coveralls located on a laundry truck that annunciated an alarm as the truck tried to exit Y-12’s Protected Area.”
According to its website, Y-12 provides “the expertise to secure highly enriched uranium – domestically and around the world – that may be vulnerable to terrorists.” It also stores the uranium “with the highest security” and makes “material available for non-weapons uses such as in research reactors and for producing cancer-fighting medical isotopes and commercial power.”
“Every weapon in the U.S. nuclear stockpile has components manufactured, maintained or ultimately dismantled by Y-12, the nation’s Uranium Center of Excellence,” the website stated. “We employ only the most advanced and failsafe technologies to protect the stockpile.”
According to the report, when there is a safety violation inside the facility, workers who discover the violation should “establish at least a 15-foot boundary around the samples, make no attempt to correct the situation, and notify Nuclear Criticality Safety (NCS) about the discovery.”
This is known as Y-12 procedure Y56-001, Abnormal Condition Involving Fissile Material.
This “mitigates the risk of adverse health effects such as radiation sickness, increased risk of cancer, and possible death,” according to the report.