The source of the enriched uranium remains unclear. According to WLWT, some locals have suggested that the nearby Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant—located around two miles from the school—may be to blame. The facility previously produced enriched uranium, including weapons-grade uranium, for the United States Atomic Energy program and for use in U.S. nuclear weapons. Uranium enrichment at the site ended in 2001…

Regardless, the development came as a shock to the local community. Jennifer Chandler, a councilwoman for Piketon, explained: “We aren’t prepared for something like this, that’s for sure… We, at this point, don’t know how far the contamination has reached. That will be part of the ongoing investigation.”

Chandler noted that homes and bodies of water had tested positive for enriched uranium and neptunium. Both substances are radioactive, and extended exposure to them can cause cancer.