Depleted uranium found in NJ synagogue — But all is ‘safe,’ cops say
SPRINGFIELD (Union) — A small quantity of depleted uranium accidentally forgotten by a teacher caused a HAZMAT team to descend on a local synagogue, according to acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo.
Township police and firefighters arrived at Temple Sha’arey Shalom shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday on a report of a potentially hazardous substance, police said.
Officers then called the Union County HAZMAT team and the Prosecutor’s Office after inspecting the substance, which was identified as a "marble-sized amount of depleted uranium," Rutolo said.
Rutolo also said an educator who used the item as a teaching aid had left the substance in a meeting room.
The depleted uranium was tested and found to emit an extremely low-level pulse of radiation, below the threshold that would be deemed an imminent health hazard, according to police.
The state Department of Environmental Protection was called to coordinate safe disposal and the site and surrounding area were declared safe, within two hours of the substance's discovery.
Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the process through which naturally occurring uranium is enriched in order to produce fuel that powers sources of nuclear power, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
While owning the substance is federally regulated, it does have several commercial uses, such as in counterweights and shielding, the prosecutor's office noted.
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