Updated: 2:30 pm
Uranium was found at a Florida airport, prompting an evacuation order. Officials report that a 55-gallon container of depleted uranium was unsealed near a dismantled DC-10 aircraft at the Opa-locka airport in Miami.
As reported by USA Today, the drum was marked with the words “depleted uranium.” It is unknown who opened the container or why. Officials explained that the uranium is in solid form, which is easily contained.
As a precaution, officials initially evacuated everyone within 150 feet of the container. A hazardous material crew responded to the scene. They are currently assessing the situation and working to secure the uranium to prevent injury.
No injuries are reported at this time.
Some media outlets have reported that there was a spill when the container was unsealed. However, officials have not confirmed that any uranium left the container.
The uranium was found at Florida’s Opa-locka airport, which handles maintenance and repair for the Miami International Airport. Opa-locka is also used as the base for the U.S. Coast Guard air and sea rescue.
The uranium was located next to a plane that was prepared for demolition.
As reported by the Miami Herald, minimal levels of radiation were detected on scene. Radiation levels are being monitored closely.
The evacuation has been reduced to a five-foot perimeter, as officials have determined that there is “minimal to no risk” of further contamination or injury.
Depleted uranium has been blamed for cancer and birth defects by officials in Iraq. The officials blame the US military, who reportedly uses depleted uranium weapons.
As reported by Press TV, “a precautionary approach” to depleted uranium weapons was suggested by the United Nations Assembly. However, the resolution was turned down by France, Britain, Israel, and the US.
Depleted uranium is a toxic waste byproduct of nuclear power plants.
Iraqi officials have accused US troops of dumping more than “400 metric tons of uranium across Iraq.”
The uranium found at the Florida airport is reportedly contained and poses no risk to the environment. However, depleted uranium may be a continuing problem in Iraq.
[Image via Flickr]