Ohio Sues to Contain High Levels of Radiation

     (CN) — The Ohio Department of Health says that a repeatedly vandalized Cleveland business must secure its radioactive material to prevent ground contamination.
     The department filed an injunctive action against Advanced Medical Systems Inc. and owner Seymour Stein on Aug. 30 in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.
     According to the lawsuit, AMS was licensed to manufacture Cobalt-60 medical radiation devices until its license was not renewed in 2001.
     After unsuccessfully appealing the decision, AMS was ordered to decontaminate its facility.
     However, the health department alleges that AMS has failed to comply with the order.
     “As a result, levels of a radioactive isotope, Cobalt-60, continue to be substantially higher inside the building than is permitted for public access and unrestricted release,” the department’s 14-page complaint states.
     Two “significant acts of vandalism” that happened this summer involving the theft of copper piping have made contaminated areas accessible to the public, according to the lawsuit.
     “In addition, the facility lost electricity causing the building’s sump pump to stop working, which could lead to the greater spread of radioactive contamination if flooding occurred,” the complaint states.
     The Ohio Department of Health says it is testing the sump water at the facility each week because the company’s radiation safety officer quit his job and will not be replaced.
     While the maximum rate of radiation for public access is two millirem per hour, the department estimated that some areas of the AMS facility have registered between 500 and 900 millirem per hour.
     The health department asked the court for an injunction ordering AMS to comply with court orders and Ohio law “in order to assure that the public is protected from the radioactive waste present on AMS’s property.”
     According to the lawsuit, homes are located directly across the street from the company’s facility.
     Assistant Attorney General Deborah Enck is representing the health department.
     Stein could not be reached for comment.

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