Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2013
SEIBERDORF, Austria — The Austrian firm Nuclear Engineering Seiberdorf consults on decommissioning, safety, operations and decontamination of nuclear sites and materials. In spite of its expertise, two employees were contaminated with americium-241 on May 3. Americium-241, a beta radiation emitter, has a half-life of 432 years. The workers opened a mislabeled transport container and had to be hospitalized after coming into contact with the radioactive material. The mislabeled container came from the Institute of Chemistry and Radiochemistry at the University of Innsbruck, which, two weeks after the Seiberdorf accident, was itself found to be tainted with the isotope. Two workers at the Institute were also contaminated. The contamination at Seiberdsdorf is widespread enough that the building where the incident occurred will need to be demolished and rebuilt at a cost of $662,000.
— Austrian Times, May 5; Austrian Independent, May 23; IAEA, May 24, 2013