The University of Washington’s Research and Training Building at Harborview Medical Center has been closed since May 2019, when workers for International Isotopes accidentally breached the cesium-137 source of a blood irradiator the Idaho Falls company was removing from the building as part of the NNSA’s Cesium Irradiator Replacement Project.
The facility should reopen in about a year, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) top nonproliferation official said this week. The remediation costs are estimated to be up to $60 million. The incident released about 2,900 curies of the material, contaminating 13 people and all seven floors of the facility, according to DOE’s March 30 report on the accident. NNSA has acknowledged that some of the facility might have to be demolished, if it cannot be cleaned up.
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