Schools stored radioactive materials without permission

August 08, 2013

By YUSUKE YAMADA/ Staff Writer

Eight high schools in the central Japan prefecture of Nagano stocked radioactive materials for their physics labs without government permission, the Nuclear Regulation Authority and other sources said Aug. 7.

This surprising finding emerged in a checkup requested by the Nagano Prefectural Board of Education.

The board reported the matter to the NRA on June 20, but did not make it public.

The schools are all operated by the prefectural government.

The schools kept uranyl nitrate, uranium oxide, uranium acetate and americium, the sources said.

They are legally obliged to notify the central government if they are storing those substances.

It appeared likely that some substances were used in lab experiments years ago and before the schools were required to seek permission from the government to keep such stocks.

The schools in question are: Nagano Technical High School; Komoro Business High School; Iida High School; Shimo-Ina Agriculture Senior High School; Kiso Seiho High School; Matsumoto Fukashi High School; Minami-Azumi Agricultural High School; and Hakuba High School.

The materials were kept in glass vials and other containers on shelves in physics preparation rooms or related facilities. The measurements ranged from 10 grams or so to 180 grams.

Due to the small amounts, there was no risk to health or the environment, the sources said.

It remains unclear how the schools obtained the radioactive materials. They have since applied to the government for a permit to store the substances.

By YUSUKE YAMADA/ Staff Writer
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