Radiation found in UNR building

Published: Apr. 20, 2017 at 12:44 PM PDT
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UPDATE: The fate of a nearly century old building at the University of Nevada is in limbo. Radiation was found inside a small building near the business school.

"We were surprised as anybody," said Kerri Garcia, UNR Spokesperson

A surprise that was delivered to UNR administration about seven months ago. When the state Radiological Control Program notified the University of Low Levels of radiation found inside the Facilities Building.

"No one is to blame. It's just now, how do we find solution," said Garcia.

The building is nearly a century old. During the 1920's the U.S. Bureau of Mines used the building to test radium at a "rare and precious metals experiment station."

"The building is not on the historic register, so there is a lot we want to look at and make the right decision," said Garcia.

The decision has been whittled down to two options. Either decontaminate the building, which could cost $6 - $10 million or tear it down, which could come at a price tag of $1.5 - $2 million.

"It has been here a long time. You hate to see any building have to be changed, but we have to do the right thing and move in the right direction for a solution," said Garcia.

While the radiation levels are below the government exposure limits. The university is looking into whether any students could have been exposed. The school is also working on moving the staff.

"You would think relocating 30 employees would be easy. We are going fast as we can to find them a new space," said Garcia.

Employees are expected to be relocated next week. Garcia says the university is working hand in hand with the state on this issue. They hope to make a final decision on the building in a few weeks.


ORIGINAL: Officials with the University of Nevada, Reno are trying to figure out what to do with a building after low levels of radiation were found inside. Kerri Garcia, the director of communications, confirms the university plans to move 30 employees out of the Facilities Services Building and into other offices by early next week.

Garcia says the radiation was found in the building about seven months ago. Back in the early 1920's, the building was used by the U.S. Bureau of Mines to test radium.

The levels found are below the government's maximum permitted exposure and Garcia says there is very little risk to the employees.

UNR is now working to decide whether to decontaminate the Facilities Services Building, or demolish it.