Page last updated at 10:27 GMT, Saturday, 25 July 2009 11:27 UK

Uranium claim sparks safety alert

Image of a radiation warning sign
Fears of radioactivity sparked an alert by firefighters

A woman sparked an alert when she went into Suffolk's fire service headquarters with a test tube she said contained uranium oxide.

Firefighters put on air-tight suits and breathing apparatus to take the tube from the woman so it could be locked away in a secure place.

Experts from Sizewell nuclear power plant tested the substance and said it had a low level of radioactivity.

Dave Pedersen from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said it was low risk.

"It is now locked away in a secure place awaiting tests next week to identify what the material really is," he said.

"Sizewell said it had a small amount of residual radioactivity such as you would find in a smoke alarm or exit sign.

"Our health and safety procedures were brought into play as a precaution and to protect the public immediately the woman told us what she had in her pocket.

"She said that she had found the test tube at her father's home and suspected it might be uranium oxide.

"At no time was there any threat to the public and the substance is now in a safe place."

Commander Paul Collins said the woman told them the test tube was in her pocket when she arrived.

"We understand that it had been in the possession of her father who was now in a care home."

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