May 12, 2000
Statement Regarding Ore Samples Found in Army Records
College Park, MD. . . On Tuesday, February 1, 2000, the Department of the Army discovered a sample of suspected uranium ore in a box of records that had been recently transferred from the National Archives in College Park, MD. On the following day, a second box containing another suspected uranium ore sample was discovered. The materials were immediately tested and ultimately contained and were determined not to present a health or safety hazard to employees. No radioactivity was found in the processing areas, on any of the staff who may have handled the records, or on the outside of the boxes. A very small amount of radiation was detected on direct examination of four envelopes containing ore samples.
The records, which consist of Army intelligence materials, were transferred on January 24, 2000, from the National Archives to the Army Declassification Facility (ADF) in Ballston, Virginia, for routine declassification review. Since 1995, the records had been stored in a secured stack area at the National Archives and were not available to researchers
No radioactivity was detected in the secured stack area where the two boxes had been stored. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has contracted with the Department of Energy to conduct a thorough radiological search of all classified records and, in the future, NARA scientists will examine all newly accessioned records as they arrive in the building.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.