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Title: The 1976 Hanford Americium Accident: Then and Now

The 1976 chemical explosion of an 241Am ion exchange column at a Hanford Site waste management facility resulted in the extreme contamination of a worker with 241Am, nitric acid and debris. The worker underwent medical treatment for acid burns, as well as wound debridement, extensive personal skin decontamination and long-term DTPA chelation therapy for decorporation of americium-241. Because of the contamination levels and prolonged decontamination efforts, care was provided for the first three months at the unique Emergency Decontamination Facility with gradual transition to the patient’s home occurring over another two months. The medical treatment, management, and dosimetry of the patient have been well documented in numerous reports and journal articles. The lessons learned with regard to patient treatment and effectiveness of therapy still form the underlying philosophy of treatment for contaminated injuries. Changes in infrastructure and facilities as well as societal expectations make for interesting speculation as to how responses might differ today.
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Resource Relation:
Conference: The Medical Basis for Radiation-Accident Preparedness: Medical Management. Proceedings of the Fifth International REAC/TS Symposium on the Medical Basis for Radiation-Accident Preparedness and the Biodosimetry Workshop, September 27-29, 2011, Miami, Florida, 23
DM Christensen, SL Sugarman, FM O'Hara; Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), Oak Ridge, TN, United States(US).
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Americium; accident; Hanford; medical; decontamination