Amersham Corp. *
Industry & Science
Manufacturing & distribution Broad A /Broad R & D
Source Mtl. > 150Kg.
On March 8, 1990, Amersham Corporation (Amersham), Burlington, Massachusetts, an NRC licensee authorized to manufacture and distribute iridium-192 and cobalt-60 sealed sources for use in industrial radiography equipment, received a Model 500-SU source changer from its Korean product
distributor. In accordance with shipping documents, Amersham expected the source changer to be empty. However, as an Amersham technician approached the source changer, his audible alarming dosimeter indicated increased radiation levels. Radiation dose rates measured as high as 10 rem per hour at approximately 18 inches and 150 rem per hour on contact. Amersham later discovered that the source changer contained a 2.4-curie, iridium-192 source capsule in an unshielded portion of the changer. Because the source changer
was transported cross-country by domestic motor carrier, the potential existed for significant radiation exposure to a variety of individuals.