MU Asks For Extension To Remove Radiation

8 years 3 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, June 22 2011 Jun 22, 2011 Wednesday, June 22, 2011 1:29:00 PM CDT June 22, 2011 in News
By: Josh Frydman

COLUMBIA - University of Missouri officials said Wednesday they are asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for more time to figure out ways to remove radiation from Pickard Hall on MU's campus. The NRC will hold a public hearing from 6 to 8 p.m. in Jesse Wrench Auditorium at Memorial Hall Thursday to hear the university officials' request for an alternative schedule to deal with the radiation in the building. 

The University of Missouri's Environmental Health and Safety offices have removed some radiation from the building, found in the basement and attic, but some radiation still exists. Pickard Hall on Francis Quadrangle is home to the Museum of Art and Archeology and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Peter Ashbrook, Director of the Environmental Health and Safety offices, said the building is still safe for the public.

In the early 1900's, Pickard Hall was a chemistry building where research involved radioactive materials, leading to the radiation found today. MU has known about the contamination in the building for decades, and the Environmental Health and Safety offices have worked through the years to remove it. 

In 2007, the NRC released new regulations requiring buildings with naturally occurring radiation material--the material found in Pickard Hall--to be cleaned within two years. Prior to this, naturally occurring radioactive material was not regulated by the NRC.

The MU Environmental Health and Safety offices notified the NRC in 2008 and have worked with the NRC weekly for the past two years. In February, the office submitted a report to the NRC asking for more time to conduct its cleanup plan, and part of the review process involves the NRC coming to MU and holding the public hearing.

Thursday's meeting is open to the public to express any issues and concerns to the NRC once the University officials have outlined their request for more time to remove the radiation.

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