TRI-CITIES, Wash. (AP) - A radioactive rabbit was trapped on the Hanford nuclear reservation, but there is no sign any people were exposed to the animal.Radioactive animals in the area are not uncommon. Radioactive wasps and nests have been found through the years, along with other animals:
Washington state Health Department workers with the Office of Radiation Protection have been searching for contaminated rabbit droppings. None have been found in areas accessible to the public, regional director Earl Fordham said Thursday.
Hanford has an extensive program to check for contaminated animals. In 2009, 33 contaminated animals or animal materials such as droppings were found on the site, the Tri-City Herald reported.
In Hanford's earlier years, contaminated animals were more common.
Liquid waste with radioactive salts was discharged into the ground near central Hanford during the Cold War. Rabbits and other animals were attracted to the salts and spread radioactive droppings across as much as 13.7 square miles of sage-covered land before the waste sites were sealed to keep out animals in 1969.
As the article mentions, there is on-going testing to this day to find radioactive animals in the area.