Limited release of radioactive Selenium during manipulation: no impact on employees, population or environment


This afternoon, radioactivity was released through a ventilation chimney while handling selenium-75 in a shielded cell. Selenium-75 is a radio-isotope used for industrial applications. The manipulation and the capsule differ from those of the incident of 15 May 2019. The amount of radioactivity released is a hundred times smaller.

The maximum dose following the release during the event amounts to 0.9 nanosievert. This amount corresponds to 1/1,000,000th of the natural, annual exposure.

All authorities were immediately notified. This incident has no impact on the wellbeing of our staff, the population or the environment. SCK•CEN has ceased its activities with Selenium-75 until further notice.

After a thorough analyses, this event has been classified as an incident of level 0 on the INES scale. INES (International Nuclear Event Scale) is a communication tool that enables to describe the severity of an incident involving ionising radiation in an easily understandable way. This scale has seven levels, ranging from 1 (anomaly) to 7 (serious accident).