Thursday, June 12, 2008

IAEA Bulletin on Sichuan Earthquake and Radioactive Source

Press Feature
In Quake´s Aftermath, Chinese Sift Through Rubble for Radioactivity
IAEA Training, Equipment Help China to Recover Radioactive Sources

Vienna, 12 June 2008 -- In the wake of the strongest and deadliest earthquake to ravage China in decades, the task of searching through wreckage for victims and property proved an onerous one. The 7.9-magnitude earthquake of 12 May devastated China´s mountainous Sichuan Province, killing an estimated 69,000 people and causing extensive property damage.

Among the many dangerous materials buried in the rubble lay a hidden enemy - stray radioactive sources that could complicate relief efforts or cause contamination. So when the Sichuan earthquake struck, Chinese authorities sprang into action. Utilizing IAEA training and donated equipment, Chinese emergency teams were deployed to the affected area for recovery efforts.

Under an IAEA Technical Cooperation Project launched in early 2007, staff from Chinese national authorities was trained on how to search for "lost" sources, and to then control and dispose of them safely. Now, those teams used radiation detection equipment to pinpoint the location of 50 sources and safely recover all of them, according to China´s National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA).

Full Story: In Quake´s Aftermath, Chinese Sift Through Rubble for Radioactivity

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