The United States on Tuesday said WMD specialists were scouring Fort Bliss in Texas for radioactive contaminants that might have escaped from a one-time nuclear arms storage shed, the Associated Press reported.
Radioactive material detected in a 2-month-old probe might have slipped through cracks in an aging coat of epoxy applied to seal off radiological particles on the structure's interior walls, base spokesman Maj. Joe Buccino said. The substance might be uranium from "old unsealed nuclear weapons," according to the official.
Contaminants would not reach people living roughly a mile from the site, but "there is some low level of contamination that could be transferred to personnel," Buccino said. Approximately 30 personnel regularly at the site are undergoing radioactive material checks, but the spokesman said "there is no immediate health or safety risk" to additional troops who have handled arms stored in the structure since 2003.
Investigators responded to a tip by an unidentified individual who worked at Fort Bliss in the 1950s, when the base was under Air Force control. The Army will search for radiation-tainted materials said to have been interred in airtight holders nearby.
It was unclear why the Air Force did not notify provide details on the reported hazard to the Army, which took over the site in 1966.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.