Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Radioactive contamination of records

Radioactive contamination of records

From: Karen Motylewski <nedcc>
Date: Monday, November 1, 1993
I had a query from Victoria Ladd-DeGraff at Niagara-Mohawk Power Company
with a cautionary tale and an unusual conservation problem.  The company
archives contained in its files display samples of materials in the
uranium manufacturing process.  These mounted glass vials were
interfiled with other records at some point in the distant past, and one
of the vials broke as the files were being reprocessed, spilling a
sample of "yellow cake," a low-level alpha-emission radioactive
contaminant, into the drawer and contaminating the equivalent of as much
as a hundred boxes of historical records.  BMS apparently does not do
radioactive waste removal.  The company that normally does radioactive
clean-up for Niagara-Mohawk has no experience with salvaging paper-based
materials.  Contaminated materials have been removed from the storage
area and are being temporarily housed at the site.  A decision must be
made before Friday about the dispensation of the records.  Victoria has
talked to Sue Lee-Bechtold, and I suggested that she talk to a couple of
others, including Monona Rossol.  Does anybody have any experience that
bears on this problem, or any ideas?

Please respond to the Cons DistList (consdist [at] lindy__stanford__edu) and
cc: Victoria Ladd-DeGraff <dlhagan [at] suvm__bitnet>.  I can't imagine it
happens often, but I've come across it twice before in my working life,
so it's not that uncommon, either.


Karen Motylewski

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:37
                 Distributed: Friday, November 5, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-7-37-002
Received on Monday, 1 November, 1993

[Search all CoOL documents]