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Satanica

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[....]
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.
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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.
https://www.redstate.com/tladuke/2019/05/15/ohio-school-closed-finding-enriched-uranium-there./
 

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Totemic

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Those schools are done. Depending on where they find the contaminant and how long has it been there. Lots of interesting questions will come from this. But I'm going to say they aren't going to take any chances, I think total demo, ground scraping and then fallow for a few years. Of course, it may just be a trace amount and there is nothing more than a good decon.
 

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Brillig

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Hopefully it has not been there for decades already, since when the enrichment plant was still open. Yikes. Think of all the kids that have passed through that school in 20 years.

I am also very curious how they happened to suddenly discover it?
 
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Satanica

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Found this in the actual Newsweek article.

“Routine air samples in the area of DOE Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon revealed trace amounts of two radiological isotopes that were more than one thousand to ten thousand times below the established threshold of public health concern. DOE treats all detections seriously—even those that are at such low levels.”
 

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Keepalowprofile

Water is for people that don't have coffee.
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From @Satanica post
.“Routine air samples in the area of DOE Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon revealed trace amounts of two radiological isotopes that were more than one thousand to ten thousand times below the established threshold of public health concern. DOE treats all detections seriously—even those that are at such low levels.”
So are they overreacting by closing the schools or now trying to do damage control.
 

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Brillig

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Kittyskyfish

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From @Satanica post

So are they overreacting by closing the schools or now trying to do damage control.
There is the possibility that this is a new detection, from a history of Neptunium 237 not showing up in their routine samples. The uranium enrichment facility closed in 2001, so if this is the case, the DOE has to investigate and answer 'why' this isotope is showing up for the first time 18 years after the facility closure.

I want to say I agree with you if this micro-detection has been long-standing and suddenly school officials are making much ado about nothing.
 

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Satanica

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An Ohio middle school that was closed this month after highly carcinogenic radioactive chemicals were detected inside and near the building will be closed for all of the next school year, according to a statement from the district.
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On May 13, Scioto Valley Local School District announced that Zahn’s Corner Middle School would be closed for the remainder of the year due to the contamination. Last week, a letter from the district said that, amid additional testing, the school would be closed for the 2019-20 school year.

More than 350 fourth, fifth and sixth grade students will have to attend other schools throughout the district, the letter said.

When the enriched uranium was discovered, the Pike County General Health District called for more independent sampling to determine the "extent of contamination" and asked the DOE to cease operations that could be causing any off-site contamination.

The DOE agreed to "sponsor a third-party, independent survey of all of the contamination issues," according to a May 11 statement from the Pike County General Health District. But the DOE has repeatedly refused to stop operations that might cause contamination.

The Pike County General Health District had previously called on the DOE to stop activities at the plant in April after the carcinogen Neptunium was detected by a U.S. Department of Energy air monitor adjacent to the school.

Separately, in 2017, the health district had already passed a resolution opposing some construction on the site.
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In 2001, enrichment operations were discontinued at the site. The DOE began a cleanup program at the site in 1989 and began the decontamination and decommissioning process at the plant in 2011.

From 2010 to 2014, the cancer incidence rate in Pike County was almost 488 per 100,000 — 10 percent higher than the national average, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

"Any activity that cannot be performed safely and without leading to off-site contamination or risk to our community must not take place," Pike County General Health District spokesman Matt Brewster told NBC News.

"Any process or activity that leads to off-site contamination must stop. Stop what you are doing, figure out where it is coming from, implement a corrective measure to prevent future releases, and then resume activities with adequate monitoring in place to ensure that the corrective measures are working," he said.

The DOE did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment Friday. Earlier this month, DOE spokeswoman Kelly Love had said in a statement that routine air samples revealed trace amounts of Neptunium-237 and Americium-241.

"No enriched uranium was identified in any of the air samples taken by the Department of Energy at this school,” she said.

The department is “working together with state, local officials and the Piketon community to select an independent third party to perform additional sampling and analysis in a scientifically sound, and disciplined manner to properly assess the situation,” and “we are confident those findings will dispel any cause for further concern,” Love said in the statement.

Over Memorial Day Weekend, the DOE conducted sampling at the school, according to the Pike County General Health District, which is awaiting results.

Plans for the independent third-party assessment that will be funded by the DOE are still being finalized, Brewster said.
[....]
Scioto Valley Local School District board president Brandon Wooldridge on Thursday addressed questions about closing the middle school.

"As soon as we found out about the results from Northern Arizona University, we had to make decisions quick and as a board member and a father, I could not keep it from the public if I thought there was something in the school building that could harm our students or staff," he wrote on Facebook.

"The Scioto Valley Local Board of Education is working hard to get answers as fast and efficiently as we can," Wooldridge wrote. "I can also assure you there are no hidden agendas or secrets being kept from the public. I’ll leave the secrets to the Department of Energy."
 

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