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Inspection Report: IG-0591

March 20, 2003 

Allegations Concerning the Reporting of a Radiological Incident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory

On February 15, 2001, an unanticipated airborne release of Plutonium-238 (Pu-238) occurred from a glovebox at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos) Technical Area 55 (TA-55) Site. The incident resulted in the contamination of workers. As required, Los Alamos officials prepared an Occurrence Report outlining the circumstances of the incident. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) referred to the Ofice of Inspector General a complaint that questioned the thoroughness and competence of the evaluation of the incident by Los Alamos and the failure to consider the procedural violations that caused the incident. Consequently, the purpose of our inspection was to evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding the reporting of the incident.