Type B Accident Investigation of the July 14, 2005, Americium Contamination Accident at the Sigma Facility, Los Alamos National Laboratory

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January 1, 2006

On July 14, 2005, a worker at the Los Alamos National Laboratory received and opened a shipment of radioactive material from another facility in the Laboratory. The material had been inadvertently contaminated during its preparation in a glovebox. The material was not evaluated for radiological contamination before being shipped, even though it was known that there was a good possibility for contamination. The shippers assumed that the receiver knew there was a potential for contamination and would act accordingly. The receiver assumed that the material was not contaminated because he had not been told otherwise.