Clipped From Lancaster Eagle-Gazette

msewell45 Member Photo

Clipped by msewell45

 - 6ALancaster Eagle-Gazette, Sunday, September...
6ALancaster Eagle-Gazette, Sunday, September 26, 1999 Questions, fears part of Cold WASHINGTON (AP) During the Cold War, three big, secretive factory complexes in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee made nuclear warfare possible, getting uranium ready for bombs that never had to be used. Only recently have workers and nearby residents learned that the gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, Ky., handled uranium contaminated with plutoni-um. Then some of it was sent for further refinement to the plant in Piketon, Ohio, which also got uranium laced with plutonium from other sources. Because of the secrecy imposed on contractors by federal officials in past decades, no one has been able to say with certainty how much plutonium was involved, where all of it came from, or where it ended up. The best guesses of Energy Department officials have changed from week to week as long-ignored documents and reports yield new revelations. The result has been new attention on Paducah, Piketon and the K-25 plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn., hew examinations of overlooked information, and renewed questions about why, in 1999, it's still not clear exactly what workers were exposed to in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Both plutonium and uranium workers because it is more deadly and because they didn't know it was there. Plutonium is 100,000 times more radioactive than natural uranium, and roughly 1,000 times more radioactive than the highly enriched uranium Piketon workers knew they were handling. Now that it's clear plutonium was handled at the three plants, an ongoing series of medical screenings on former workers seems insufficient, to Dr. Steven Markowitz of Queens College, City University of New York, who's overseeing the tests. His proposal for $3.6 million in additional testing was incorporated into an Energy Department bid to supplement its fiscal 2000 spending request. "We want to include lung cancer screenings for people at highest risk," he said. "That's certainly a plausible cancer related to plutonium exposure." Up to now, the medical screenings have been tests to identify those who suffered liver dam-' age, kidney damage, bladder cancer and hearing loss. With a limited budget, allowing about $200 per person, with some 18,000 eligible to be tested at the three plants, those health problems were selected as the most likely to result from exposure to ONLY RECENTLY have workers and nearby residents

Clipped from
  1. Lancaster Eagle-Gazette,
  2. 26 Sep 1999, Sun,
  3. Page 7

msewell45 Member Photo

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in