STENDER: MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE TO ENSURE QUICK DISPOSAL OF RADIOACTIVE EQUIPMENT

(RAHWAY) — After the Nuclear Security Administration revealed it had seized radioactive material from medical equipment in a Rahway warehouse, Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) on Friday said she would explore what’s needed to require medical facilities to have outdated equipment quickly picked up by the government.

Stender said she would consider state legislation and lobby for stricter federal laws on unused medical equipment.

“It’s not everyday that nuclear safety officials buzz through town and haul away radioactive materials, and it’s even scarier to think that this dangerous stuff was just sitting around in a warehouse,” Stender said. “That’s unacceptable for both our community’s health and our national security. We cannot have it.”

The Star-Ledger on Friday reported the Nuclear Security Administration seized cesium-137 from unused medical irradiator machines in a Rahway warehouse.

Kenneth Sheely, a deputy director for the government agency, told the newspaper the material could be used in a so-called dirty bomb explosive that could cause economic damage and injure or kill civilians.

“Whether it be through federal or state legislation, clearly more needs to be done to ensure dirty bomb materials aren’t just lying around in warehouses waiting to fall into the wrong hands,” Stender said. “It’s scary to think this stuff is out there like that, and it’s not too much to ask for medical facilities to keep track of where it goes, so I will see what we can do.”

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