Contamination scare at Sydney nuclear plant as two workers are exposed to unsafe dose of radiation
- The radiation dose was equivalent to cancer radiation therapy treatment
- The recently opened medical lab was temporarily closed for investigations
- The facility was only granted a licence to manufacture the drug 11 days ago
- Previously described as ‘the most advanced and safest facility in the world’
Two employees at a nuclear plant were exposed to excessive radiation (stock image)
Two employees at a nuclear plant were exposed to a radiation dose equivalent to cancer radiation therapy while they were working.
A recently opened $168million medical lab at the nuclear facility in south Sydney’s Lucas Heights was temporarily closed down after reports three employees were exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.
Despite initial reports suggesting three people had been affected, only two employees presented with symptoms of excessive exposure.
A spokesman for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation confirmed they had opened an investigation into the incident.
‘Last Friday morning, ANSTO ceased manufacturing Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) after contamination was detected on the outside of a container holding 42 millilitres of Mo-99,’ an ANSTO spokesman said.
‘Mo-99 is the parent isotope of Technetium-99m, which is used in hospitals and nuclear medicine centres to diagnose a variety of heart, lung, organ and muscular-skeletal conditions.’
The drug is supposed to give off very low doses of radiation which is then picked up by gamma cameras to assist doctors in understanding the functionality of certain body parts.
A recently opened $168million medical lab at the nuclear facility in south Sydney’s Lucas Heights was temporarily closed down after reports three employees were exposed to unsafe levels of radiation
An estimate of the radiation dose will be confirmed in the coming weeks, but the spokesman said initial indications suggest both employees received a radiation dose above the statutory limit.
‘An occupational physician will continue to provide ongoing observation. All three workers involved are receiving ongoing support from ANSTO,’ he said.
The facility was previously described as the most advanced and safest nuclear medical plant operating in the world today.
It was only given the green light to begin supplying nuclear medicine to Australian patients 11 days ago.
Vital supplies of the nuclear medicine will be provided through alternative facilities while the plant remains closed for investigation.
The facility was previously described as the most advanced and safest nuclear medical plant operating in the world today