An Ohio school has been forced to close for the remainder of the academic year after enriched uranium was discovered inside. Neptunium 237—a byproduct of nuclear reaction and plutonium production—was also detected inside Zahn’s Corner Middle School in the town of Piketon, about 80 miles east of Cincinnati, WLWT reported.
Both substances are radioactive, and extended exposure to them can cause cancer.
The middle school serves about 320 students, and officials have been working to determine the source of the contamination and establish its extent. They have not ruled out a longer school closure.
Scioto Valley Local School District Superintendent Todd Burkitt made the decision to close the school on Monday. “Even the last couple of hours have been very hectic. There’s just not a playbook in how we deal with this. We’re kind of writing the script as we go. We’re not going to take any chances on someone’s child. We just won’t do that,” Burkitt told WLWT.
Even though there was a uranium enrichment plant just 2 miles from the school, Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, that facility ended enrichment of uranium back in 2001. Even if it was still up and running, how in the hell do you just misplace this very radioactive material that could harm anyone near it? This is incredibly troubling.
If this material can just appear in schools how hard would it be for a rogue government or terrorist organization to come across some of this?
Hopefully, they figure out how this happened and make sure this never happens again.