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Four Workers Contaminated in Nuclear Plant Accidents

October 2, 1987

BERWICK, Pa. (AP) _ Four workers were contaminated with radioactive material and 1,300 gallons of contaminated water was spilled at the Susquehanna nuclear plant in unrelated accidents, according to a plant official.

The four workers, all employees of Pennsylvania Power & Light Co., were decontaminated at the plant, said plant spokesman Ira Kaplan. The names were not released.

Kaplan said neither of the accidents Wednesday posed a health danger to employees or the public.

The two incidents followed a low-level emergency declared Sept. 23 when an 800-pound steel plug fell out of a steam line during a test. Officials are still trying to find the exact cause of that incident.

Unit 1 of the twin-reactor plant is shut down for refueling.

″It is not unusual to have people contaminated, especially during an outage,″ Kaplan said. ″Once you open the system up, the potential is there.″

In the incident involving the workers, Kaplan said, ″We don’t know precisely what happened, ... (but) a hose was hooked up incorrectly and radioactive material blew out onto the floor.″

PP&L spokesman Herb Woodeshick said, ″Some radioactive particles were detected on the skin of two workers and two others had their clothing and shoes contaminated.″

Earlier Wednesday, a relief valve opened in a Unit 1 pump room, allowing about 1,300 gallons of contaminated water to spill onto the floor. Woodeshick said the relief valve lifted as crews were preparing for a test.

″We’re not precisely sure what happened. The valve opened and when it did the water spilled out on the floor,″ Kaplan said.

He said there was no one in the room at the time.

The spokesman said the accidents will not delay the refueling schedule. Unit 1 is expected to start running again in mid- to late November.

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