More LANL Workers Test Positive for Radiation Exposure

Increasing numbers of workers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have tested positive for radiation exposure both at LANL and on foreign soil.   

Six employees and the equipment they used tested positive for exposures to radioactive Iodine-125 following official foreign travel to an unknown location in March.  They traveled on commercial airlines and in personal vehicles.

Iodine-125 is a gamma ray emitter.  The workers did not detect Iodine-125 before returning home because they used a detector for alpha and beta radiation.  One gamma detection was 5,600,000 disintegrations per minute (dpm), which is 11,000 times the Department of Energy’s total reportable limit of 500 dpm.

The six workers all tested positive for Iodine-125 uptake to their thyroids.  A DOE spokesperson said, “As a prudent step to manage risks, experts from the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Radiological Assistance Program visited the residences of some of the impacted team members to conduct testing on their belongings and made recommendations to the involved individuals, laboratory management, and the Department.”  She emphasized that DOE is committed to the health and safety of its employees as well as the general public.

Escalation in the number of reports of exposures to different radionuclides at various LANL facilities continues.  Most recently eight electrical workers were exposed to beryllium dust at Technical Area 8 ; a worker was exposed to heat source plutonium at the Plutonium Facility at Technical Area 55 ; and four Triad employees working in a Technical Area 53 linear accelerator area that was not posted as a High Radiation Area were exposed and ordered to evacuate the area immediately. [“Issuance of this Enforcement Letter reflects DOE’s decision not to pursue further enforcement activity against Triad at this time.”]

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “In its effort to meet the ‘mission’ to fabricate plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons, over 2,000 people have been hired.  Have they been properly trained to work in radiation environments?  The number of exposures indicates that they have not.  As a result, the health and safety of the workers is being sacrificed.  The number of incidents require the shutdown of these operations until safety is Mission Number One.”

In support of her statement, Arends referenced the unprecedented 2005 emergency shutdown of operations by LANL Director Vice Admiral Peter Nanos when a student suffered an eye injury from a laser beam the same week classified computer disks were reported missing.

Nanos wrote in an internal e-mail,  “In no case will I authorize a restart until I’m absolutely convinced that each organization will not risk further compromise of safety, security and environment.”  He continued in an email to LANL employees, ‘”This willful flouting of the rules must stop, and I don’t care how many people I have to fire to make it stop. If you think the rules are silly, if you think compliance is a joke, please resign now and save me the trouble.”

  1. Friday, October 6th from noon to 1 pm MT ***  NEW LOCATION DUE TO RECONSTRUCTION OF GUADALUPE BRIDGE.  ***  Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, and others.



  1. Saturday, October 7th at 11 am – White Mesa Ute Community Spiritual Walk & Protest: Protecting Our Communities, Health, Environment & Indigenous Sacred Landscapes.  For more information, call White Mesa Concerned Community at (435) 459-2461.



  1. Sunday, October 15th at 6 pm MT – World Premiere of San Onfre Syndrome (SOS) – Nuclear Power’s Legacy. For more information and to buy tickets:

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