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Energy Department Conducts More Radiation Testing At Closed Piketon Middle School

Zahn's Middle School in Piketon was closed amid concerns about radioactive contaminants.
Nick Evans

U.S. Department of Energy officials spent last weekend at the Piketon middle school that was shuttered this month over radiation concerns.

The team collected more than 40 samples at Zahn's Corner Middle School, which is locatednear the shutted Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. They’ll test the samples for radiation at Department of Energy labs and provide additional samples to the state and county health departments for independent analysis.

“It is our hope that this thorough analysis and transparent process will give the community more clarity," says Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes in an emailed statement.

Hynes notes scientists collected far more samples, from more specific areas of concern, than previous testing.

The department’s offer to fund third party testing still stands, although local officials have had trouble finding a firm willing to conduct the study.

School officials closed down Zahn's Corner Middle School on May 13 after tests detected enriched uranium on the campus. The Energy Department then disclosed that in the last two years, air monitoring stations nearby detected trace amounts of two different radioactive isotopes.

Nick Houser leads the digital media team and oversees all things digital, including wosu.org, digital content, the WOSU Public Media Mobile App, social media, enewsletters, podcasts and on-demand video.