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Incident Involving Radioactive Material at IAEA Safeguards Laboratory - No Radioactivity Released to Environment


Pressure build-up in a small sealed sample bottle in a storage safe resulted in plutonium contamination of a storage room at about 02:30 today at the IAEA's Safeguards Analytical Laboratory in Seibersdorf. All indications are that there was no release of radioactivity to the environment. Further monitoring around the laboratory will be undertaken. No one was working in the laboratory at the time. The Laboratory´s safety system detected plutonium contamination in the storage room where the safe was located and in two other rooms - subsequently confirmed by a team of IAEA radiation protection experts. The Laboratory is equipped with multiple safety systems, including an air-filtering system to prevent the release of radioactivity to the environment. There will be restricted access to the affected rooms until they are decontaminated. A full investigation of the incident will be conducted. The IAEA has informed the Austrian regulatory authority. The IAEA´s Laboratory in Seibersdorf is located within the complex of the Austrian Research Centers Seibersdorf (ARC), about 35 km southeast of Vienna. The laboratory routinely analyses small samples of nuclear material (uranium or plutonium) as part of the IAEA´s safeguards verification work.

Last update: 16 Feb 2018

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