Agency monitors radioactivity levels after fire

Posted: Friday, January 05, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The state Department of Environmental Conservation is taking precautions against radiation contamination after a fire at a North Pole laboratory melted equipment with radioactive cores Thursday.

The fire occurred at Mappa Inc., a testing laboratory for cement and asphalt

Inside the building were three soil density meters with radioactive cores. The fire caused the outer shell of at least one of the meters to melt, allowing radiation to leak.

DEC staff members detected elevated radiation levels inside the building and roped it off until cleanup plans could be developed.

A firefighter will be posted at the site 24 hours per day to prevent access to the building. However, a DEC spokesman said standing in building for 100 hours would give about the same radiation exposure as one X-ray.

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