Hand contamination of radiation workers


Print View Posted on: 09 July 2019

Event Date: 21 June 2019 Event Type: Radioisotope Processing/Handling Facility
Event Location: Australia, Sydney, ANM Facility, ANSTO Lucas Heights INES Rating: 2 (Provisional)

Three operators were contaminated during the transfer of a Mo-99 inner container from the packaging hot cell to the helium leak test station inside the facility. The inner container was loaded with Mo-99 product in a bottle.

The outer surface of the inner container was cross contaminated with Mo-99 by the manipulator jaws which were used to replace the lid on the inner container after the manipulator jaws accidently touched the Molybdenum Product Bottle (MPB) inside the packaging hot cell.

During the required wipe tests of the inner container outside the hot cell, the hands of three operators were contaminated.

Shortly after the incident the doses to the operators were preliminarily determined by establishing the exposure model using the CCTV records, Health Physicist Surveyor (HPS) measurements and the waste recovered as evidence material. The current best estimate equivalent doses to skin of the hands are as follows.

Operator 1: 378 mSv to 1120 mSv
Operator 2: 732 mSv to 1405 mSv
Operator 3: 1444 mSv to 2843 mSv

The annual dose limit for extremities and skin is 500 mSv according to the relevant legislation.

INES Rating: 2 - Incident (Provisional) as per 09 July 2019
Release beyond authorized limits? No
Overexposure of a member of the public? No
Overexposure of a worker? Yes

Contamination spread within the facility? No
Damage to radiological barriers (incl. fuel damage) within the facility? No

Degradation of Defence In-Depth No

Person injured physically or casualty? No
Is there a continuing problem? No

Vaz Mottl
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

vaz.mottl@arpansa.gov.au
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