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Labs Closed At Ferris College After Researcher Exposed To Radiation, NRC Says

March 22, 1986

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ Two Ferris State College laboratories were shut down after a researcher was contaminated by a radioactive liquid, and a government official said Friday the college may have violated federal rules.

It appeared that the health of the researcher was not affected, said Russ Marabito of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regional office in Glen Ellyn, Ill. Officials did not identify the researcher.

Marabito said that two laboratories at the school were shut down Thursday and that the college was attempting to contact an undetermined number of students who may have passed through the contaminated areas, to see if the students have been affected by radiation.

The researcher is the only person known to have been contaminated, he said.

″What the NRC is concerned about is the contamination of some labs and the exceeding of NRC regulations on exposure to radiation,″ Marabito said. ″We feel there were a number of violations of NRC requirements. We’re still involved in the inspection effort and investigating what has occurred.″

NRC officials were conducting a routine inspection at the college on March 12 when they determined that the researcher ″may have received an internal dose of tritium in excess of NRC limits,″ Marabito said.

Ferris has an NRC license to work with the tritium, a form of radioactive hydrogen.

The school reported to the NRC Thursday that radiation surveys showed two laboratory areas were contaminated with tritium, Marabito said.

The laboratory in the basement of the School of Pharmacy has been sealed off, along with the third-floor office of the researcher and an adjoining lab, Ferris spokesman Bill Taylor said.

Taylor said tritium had not been used at the school since January.

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