Malfunction briefly leaves radioactive IAEA lab source exposed

Equipment containing radioactive material at the IAEA’s Laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, briefly malfunctioned on 24 March 2014 when its protective shield temporarily failed. While undergoing maintenance, the protective shield of a gamma source used for blood and insect irradiation became blocked in an unsafe position until IAEA safety staff restored the source into a safe configuration.

Radiation exposure to staff who were close to the equipment was extremely low. The event posed no threat to other on-site workers or the facility, and it released no radioactive material into the environment.

The IAEA has notified the Austrian authorities of the details, and will continue to study the incident to prevent any recurrence.

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