RICHLAND, Wash. – An investigative branch of the U.S. Department of Energy told a group of citizen advisors [today] Tuesday that it's launching an inspection into beryllium [BER-ill-ee-um] exposure at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. It's a metal that can be inhaled into people's lungs. One of the people in the audience in Richland was Tom Peterson. He got sick in 1993 from beryllium. Now, Peterson wears an oxygen tank where ever he goes. He says he's skeptical of the federal investigation but hopes it could lead to help for his friends.
Tom Peterson: “I'm not going to see
any benefits but, I have a lot of friends who are working on site. I
even have a brother that is working on site that don't need to go
through what I'm going through. It's too late for me, but if I can help
others, I'll get some satisfaction from that.”
Dozens of workers have been exposed to beryllium on Hanford. Many times the disease is slow to show full symptoms. Hanford officials say they aren't sure where people are getting exposed. The investigation is being lead by the Office of Health, Safety and Security and expected to be finished in April.
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