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Fla. Blast Releases Low Level Radiation

January 31, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ More than 70 people underwent decontamination Monday after being exposed to a small amount of radiation from an exploded krypton gas container at a defense contractor’s plant Monday, officials said.

No one was in danger of being exposed to a life-threatening dose, authorities said.

Sixteen people were taken to a hospital after complaining of nausea, said Bennie Seth, a fire and rescue spokeswoman. No one was seriously ill.

No radiation escaped the building at Union Industries.

Seventy-three people were found to be exposed to levels of radiation high enough that they had to be decontaminated, Seth said. A tent was set up between two fire trucks next to the building, and people disrobed and were washed down one by one.

Krypton gas is colorless and nontoxic. It can be made artificially radioactive for use in manufacturing. The krypton at the plant was used for making medical supplies, Seth said.

Unison also makes alternators for turbine engines and ignition generators for Tomahawk cruise missiles.

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