Radiological protection incident at the MAFELEC site (Isère)
On the evening of 7th October 2008 ASN was notified by the Isère prefecture of a radiological protection event involving the Mafelec site in Chimilin (Isère).
Mafelec, alerted by a client in the USA to the presence of radiation emitted by the lift buttons that it had delivered, informed the public authorities on 7th October. Upon request from the prefecture, the fire department's mobile radiological intervention unit (CMIR) carried out radioactivity measurements yesterday, 7th October, at the Chimilin site. Abnormal levels in the region of twenty microsieverts per hour were recorded near to several packages of lift buttons.
ASN immediately recommended to the prefecture that a precautionary perimeter be put in place within the site.
ASN inspected the site on the afternoon of 8th October with technical support from the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) to take measurements. The ASN inspectors established that the source of the radiation was metal coin-shaped components used as the base for the buttons. This product comes from one of Mafelec's Indian suppliers.
ASN contacted the Indian Nuclear Safety Authority. The inspectors understand that the radionuclide responsible for the radiation is most probably Cobalt-60.
As the parts were not machined when assembled the contamination did not spread.
The ASN inspectors asked Mafelec to identify the destination of cargo already shipped to its clients as well as the origin of the contaminated batches.
ASN will investigate, with the support of the IRSN, in particular with regard to measurements, the consequences of this event for employees.
ASN provisionally classifies it as a level 1 event on the INES scale.
After the inspection, ASN will decide on the administrative and penal consequences of this event.