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Aircraft part prompts radiation scare in Middleburg

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – A radiation scare in Middleburg on Friday was prompted by the discovery of an aircraft part at a home.

The Clay County Fire Department hazmat team was sent to the 2600 block of Myrtle Loop just after 11:30 a.m. Radiation experts from the Florida Department of Health were also called to the scene.

Health Department investigators said the object weighed about 45 pounds and contained an unknown amount of depleted uranium.

The material was slightly radioactive, but the levels were harmless, and the object could be picked up with bare hands, officials said.

It's unknown how the object got there.

Depleted uranium has a number of industrial and medical applications, including being used as radiation shielding.

The scene was cleared just after 2 p.m.

Nearby residents said they were told to stay in their homes until the nature of the hazard was determined.

"Well, I got off the bus and an officer called one of his officers saying I got off the bus, and I had to be escorted home," resident Zach Morriss said. "They just -- I asked, 'What's going on, officer?'"