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Ongoing INL Accidents Lead To Work Stoppage

Updated Monday, April 23, 2012:  Idaho National Laboratory suspended some work last week at a complex where nuclear fuel and other research takes place.  This comes after a small roof fire and a crane accident at its Materials and Fuels Complex.  Over the past few months,  a number of safety incidents have occurred there.

Last Monday’s fire at INL’s Materials and Fuels Complex was caused by welding work.  That same day a 3,000 pound piece of equipment fell from a crane.  Workers escaped injury, but now lab officials have started what they call a “safety pause.”  PhilBreidenbach directs nuclear operations at the complex.  He says this gives them time to stop, evaluate what happened, and learn from these accidents.  "And then take the opportunity to talk with the employees about our standards, values, expectations, and our procedures and make sure that we are all on the same page and that we have. . . there our processes that our sound and safe."

There have been about half a dozen safety accidents at the Materials and Fuels Complex in the past year and a half.  That’s according to Sven Berg.  He’s a reporter who covers INL for the Idaho Falls Post-Register.  Berg says, "When they start adding up, you have to start asking questions.  And I think in the lab they’re doing a lot of soul searching about that right now."

In addition to last week’s accidents, another fire broke out in the complex this January.  A worker was exposed to elevated levels of radiation last October.  And, last November,sixteen other workers were exposed to radiation.  All 800 employees at the Materials and Fuels Complex will now go through safety training for two weeks or longer. 


Work At INL Complex Suspended - Published Friday, April 20, 2012

Idaho National Laboratory has suspended some work at its Materials and Fuels Complex.  That’s because a 3,000 pound piece of equipment fell from a crane on Monday. 

An INL spokesman says no injuries occurred during the accident, but about 800 employees at the complex will undergo intense safety training over the next few weeks.  

Also, on Monday a small roof fire caused an evacuation at the same complex. That fire was caused by welding work.  According to an INL spokesman, the fire posed no danger or risk to the public. 

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