FAILURE OF FIXED GAUGING DEVICE RESULTING IN RADIATION EXPOSURE TO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

Members of the public (facility workers) received radiation exposures due to a loss of control of a 37 GBq (1Ci) Cs-137 source that came out of a damaged Berthold level gauge (model LB 7442). The gauge was damaged on June 29, 2003, causing the source to come out of its shield and fall to the floor. An employee picked up the gauge's handle mechanism, including the attached source, carried it to an individual's office and placed it on the individual's desk. The source remained on the individual's desk until discovery on July 10, 2003. It is estimated that the individual occupied the desk for approximately 50-60 hours and received a whole body dose of up to 40 cSv (rem). The person who carried the source received an extremity dose of up to 1,800 cSv (rem) to the hand. No one has shown signs of sickness or erythema. It appears that the vibration of the centrifuge unit upon which the gauge was mounted may have caused a failure, which allowed the source holder with the attached source to fall from the gauge.

Location: 
Monsanto Chemical Plant
Event date: 
Sun, 2003-06-29
Event sender: 
Robert Stransky
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