Washington University fined for mishandling radioactive material

Thursday, September 11, 2008 | 4:00 p.m. CDT

WASHINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is faulting Washington University's medical center for its handling of radioactive materials.

The NRC proposes a $3,250 fine against the university in St. Louis for washing part of a radioactive cancer treatment down a sink instead of disposing of it properly.

Medical staff were using a batch of radioactive implant seeds to treat a prostate cancer patient in May. But after the procedure, two of the unused seeds were left unattended in a wash basin and later washed down the drain.

The NRC says the medical center failed to control the radioactive material and account for the unused seeds.

The university has until Oct. 3 to pay the fine or contest it.

An NRC spokeswoman says the incident posed no danger to water sources because the radiation level was too low to be harmful.


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