Archive for Sunday, October 3, 2010

Officials finish review of KSU research reactor

October 3, 2010


— Federal officials have completed an inspection of a research reactor at Kansas State University following an incident in which a faculty member was exposed to minor amounts of radiation.

Authorities said Wednesday that a senior operator at Kansas State’s TRIGA Mark II research reactor was exposed to minor amounts of radiation during a routine experiment at 7:45 a.m. Sept. 22.

Ronald Bridges, radiation safety officer, said the incident happened over the course of less than a minute and that there were no health risks. The radiation exposure to the operator was reported to be less than one receives during a typical CT scan, according to The Manhattan Mercury.

Representatives from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission met with reactor officials Thursday after spending two days gathering findings. Mike Morlang, one of the two NRC investigators, said Kansas State handled reporting the incident appropriately and an official report will be issued in about a month.

Bridges said the reactor has been shut down ever since to complete the reviews. He said the NRC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment were both notified. Officials have not said when the reactor, which supports academic and education programs, research and industrial services, will reopen.

Bridges said the procedure review process gives them a chance to improve and learn from what isn’t working.

“It’s always a learning experience when something doesn’t go the way you want it to,” he said.

The decision to report the incident to the NRC came Monday from Jeff Geuther, reactor manager. Geuther said there is a list of when to report an occurrence both locally and nationally; this incident met the local requirements, but not the national.

A meeting with Kansas State University’s Reactor Safeguards Committee is expected to be held within a week. The meeting will help determine how much work needs to be done before the reactor reopens.


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