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Stephenson said specialists apparently had no Geiger counter, so they drove to Utah to pick up a Ludlum meter, which also measures radiation output.
The technicians reached the Grand Canyon several days after his call, on June 18.
Stephenson said the containers were stored next to a taxidermy exhibit, where children on tours sometimes stopped for presentations, sitting next to uranium for 30 minutes or more.
By his calculation, those children could have received radiation dosages in excess of federal safety standards within three seconds, and adults could have suffered dangerous exposure in less than a half-minute.
Workers immediately moved the buckets to another location in the building, he said, but nothing else was done.The Nuclear Regulatory Commission measures radiation contamination in millisieverts per hour or per year.According to Stephenson, close exposures to the uranium buckets could have exposed adults to 400 times the health limit — and children to 4,000 times what is considered safe.Stephenson said the uranium exposure saga developed while he was pursuing a racial-discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity office. He said high-level officials in the Park Service developed a "secrecy pact" to conceal radiation exposure data despite his insistence that a "Right to Know" law mandates public disclosure."My first interest is the safety of the workers and the people," he added.Stephenson eventually obtained a report submitted by the Park Service's regional safety manager, confirming the area was "positive for radioactivity above background" and showing high levels near the taxidermy area.