Missouri elementary school found to have ‘unacceptable’ levels of radioactive contamination will be closed indefinitely and has set the stage for a potentially long and costly legal battle.
On Monday, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that Missouri Public Health District No. 4 (PHMD 4) found a radioactive plume of uranium, and radium-226 and -228, to be “unacceptable,” leading to their decision not to renew the contract to the operator of the nuclear plant.
The NRC determined that the radiation levels at the plant did not comply with the state’s regulations, which require 1 micro curie/kg of radium-226 and -228 to be present in order to be deemed “non-unacceptable.”
This is in contrast to the levels the plant’s operator, the Missouri Valley Reactor Corporation, was able to reach in its first two years of operation.
The NRC had originally given PHMD 4 until June 9 to complete the state’s evaluation but extended that deadline to allow for further study.
According to the NRC findings, levels of radium-226 at the plant had been at least 100 times higher than the state’s “acceptable” limit of 0.3 micro curies/kg in the prior two years, and the level of radium-228 had been at least 20 times higher.
“PHMD 4 found that the radioactive plume in the area of the reactors did not meet the state’s regulatory standards,” reads the NRC’s report on the incident, posted on the agency’s website.
“PHMD 4 has previously determined that a small area of this plume did not meet the state’s regulatory standards for any of the contaminants in the area.”
The report goes on to state that a “combined total of seven (7) contaminants including (3) radium-226 and (4) radium-228 was found to have unacceptable levels of radiation and exceed the state’s regulatory limit for one (1) or more of the contaminants.”
PHMD 4 told the NRC that it would not be renewing its contract with the Missouri Valley Reactor, and that another company would be brought in to operate the plant from June 23 onwards.
“PHMD 4 has