• Tulsans file lawsuit after radioactive spill of chemical seen in Chernobyl, Fukushima incidents

    By: Katie Higgins

    Updated:

    TULSA, Okla. - Quick facts:

    • More than two dozen people say they were hurt after a radioactive spill in 2014.
    • The spill took place at the University of Tulsa's north campus.
    • The company involved said no one was hurt in the incident.

     

    More than two dozen people, including children, say they were hurt because of a radioactive spill at the University of Tulsa.

    In May, FOX23 talked to a company involved, and they say no one had been involved in the 2014 incident.

    SEE MORE: Impact from 2014 radioactive spill

    Neighbors and employees, however, say they have been suffering thyroid issues and other health problems detailed in a new lawsuit.

    The stuff that spilled on the University of Tulsa's north campus is called Cesium 137. IT is the same stuff that spilled nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima.

    Now, many at the University of Tulsa say they had no idea.

    The 2014 spill happened as researchers from Tracerco were pumping the Cesium 137 through a generator when it broke and leaked.

    An investigation by the Department of Environmental Quality found the site was not adequately cleaned.

    The university said they did not find out until the next year. All the while, people were tracking into their cars and homes.

    Patrick Wandress, one of the many local attorneys representing the case, said clients are suffering from thyroid damage, loss of sleep, vomiting and more.

    The University of Tulsa is currently suing Tracerco in federal court. The university has released more than 15,000 documents regarding the incident for the case.

    Attorneys like Wandress are asking the courts to turn over those documents, but the university has asked to keep them private.

    Tracerco released a statement on the spill: 

    "Tracerco believes the claims are without merit and expects to defend the litigation vigorously.  There was a small release in the fall of 2014, but we did not learn about this or the resulting contamination in a restricted-use building on TU’s research campus until late August 2015.  When we did, we acted immediately by notifying TU and state regulators, and hiring experts to perform a thorough cleanup.  Most important, extensive testing confirms that no one was exposed to radiation above the levels that state and federal regulators have determined to be safe."

    The University of Tulsa declined to comment on pending litigation.

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