Boeing workers exposed to radiation at Nevada base

FALLON, Nev. – At least two Boeing workers have been exposed to potentially harmful doses of radiation at the Fallon Naval Air Station, company officials confirmed.

The two men were exposed over a three-month period while working around an X-ray machine used to check for metal fatigue on Navy fighter jets. The machine was staying on when it appeared to be turned off, Boeing officials said Thursday.

Base and company officials were still trying to determine how the malfunction happened and the exact amount of radiation each man received. Meanwhile, officials have stopped X-raying aircraft at the base.

“We are working closely with the Navy in investigating this incident, as well as providing the necessary health care for those employees involved,” Boeing spokesman Paul Guse told the Lahontan Valley News and Fallon Eagle Standard.

The problem was detected in late May, more than two months after radiation badges showing high levels of exposure were sent to a private lab, base spokesman Zip Upham said.

Guse said four employees were exposed to radiation but only two workers received high enough doses to cause physical symptoms. The two men have been examined at a California hospital and allowed to return to work, but the full health effects of the exposure are not yet known, he said.

The machine is owned and maintained by the Navy but operated by the civilian employees. About 200 Boeing employees maintain the jets at the base, about 60 miles east of Reno.

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