The Latest: Radioactive material washed off 3 firefighters

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The Latest on the rupture of a barrel with radioactive material at a site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory (all times local):

5:05 p.m.

Federal officials say three firefighters got a small amount of radioactive material on their skin and were taken to medical facilities as a precaution after a barrel containing radioactive sludge ruptured at an Idaho Nuclear site.

The U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday that the 55-gallon (208-liter) barrel ruptured late Wednesday at the 890-square-mile (2,305-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.

The firefighters who responded to the fire alarm triggered by the rupture extinguished the smoldering barrel and moved it away from a dozen others nearby.

They got some radioactive contamination on their skin, but emergency workers washed it away.

Energy Department spokeswoman Danielle Miller says the firefighters did not inhale any of the radioactive material. She says no contamination has been detected outside of the building where the rupture occurred.

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2:15 p.m.

Federal officials say the first known rupture of a barrel containing radioactive sludge at an eastern Idaho nuclear site might not be the last.

That's because secretive record keeping during the Cold War makes it hard for officials to now know the exact contents of similar barrels.

The U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday that the 55-gallon (208-liter) barrel ruptured late Wednesday at the 890-square-mile (2,305-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.

Officials say crews responded to a containment structure at the Idaho Cleanup Project's Radioactive Waste Management Complex.

Officials say no one was injured and there's no threat to the public.

Experts say more barrels might contain a rupture-inducing mix of radioactive and other materials.

The barrels are from nuclear weapons production at the Rocky Flats Plant near Denver, Colorado.

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10:20 a.m.

Federal officials say there are no injuries at a nuclear facility in eastern Idaho following the release of radioactive material from a ruptured 55-gallon (208-liter) barrel inside a containment structure.

The U.S. Department of Energy in a statement Thursday says the breach occurred late Wednesday at the 890-square-mile (2,305-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.

Officials say the Idaho National Laboratory Fire Department responded to a fire alarm late Wednesday at the structure at the Idaho Cleanup Project's Radioactive Waste Management Complex.

The agency says the facility is designed with high-efficiency filters and no contamination has been detected outside.

Workers have been preparing stored waste at the isolated desert site about 55 miles (89 kilometers) west of Idaho Falls for shipment to a storage facility in New Mexico.

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7:58 a.m.

Federal officials say they've activated an Emergency Operations Center and crews are responding to a reported incident at a nuclear site in eastern Idaho.

The U.S. Department of Energy in a statement Thursday morning says it's gathering information about the incident at the 890-square-mile (2,305-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.

Officials haven't released details about the type of incident reported at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex, where radioactive waste from around the country was buried for decades.

Workers have been digging up the waste at the isolated desert site for shipment to a storage facility in New Mexico.

Idaho National Laboratory Joint Information Center spokeswoman Laura Scheele says there's no information about any injuries or possible radioactive contamination.

Officials say there is no risk to the public.

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