SPRINGFIELD, NJ - According to the Union County prosecutor's office, a small quantity of depleted uranium that was inadvertently left it in a meeting room of Temple Sha'arey Shalom has been recovered and secured by a county HAZMAT team.
The announcement was made in ajoint statement from acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo, Union County Public Safety Director Andrew Moran, and Springfield Police Chief John Cook.
According to authorities, the depleted uranium was being used as a teaching aid by a local educator.
Members of the Springfield Police Department and Fire Department both responded to the Temple shortly before 9:00 a.m. Upon examination of the substance, members of the Union County Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) and the Prosecutor’s Office were notified and also responded to the scene.
After examination, the substance was identified as an approximately marble-sized amount of depleted uranium, which was tested and found to emit an extremely low-level pulse of radiation.
The amount fell below the threshold that would be deemed an imminent health hazard. After making the determination, authorities subsequently contacted the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to coordinate safe disposal.
According to the press release from the county, depleted uranium is a byproduct of the process through which naturally occurring uranium is enriched in order to produce fuel that powers sources of nuclear power. Possession of the substance is federally regulated, but it has several commercial uses, such as in counterweights and shielding.