From www.pcmag.com

South Korea’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission is now conducting an investigation of Samsung’s chip manufacturing plant in Giheung, south of Seoul, after two Samsung employees were exposed to radiation.

The workers were exposed on Monday and have since been hospitalized, according to a statement on the Korean government’s website first reported by Bloomberg. Their bloodwork has appeared normal thus far but their fingers have signs of edema, erythema, and localized radiation exposure, according to the government release. Further tests are expected as doctors continue to monitor the patients’ conditions.

Samsung’s Giheung plant has machines that emit X-ray radiation in the semiconductor production process. Samsung has reportedly stopped use of the machines that caused the radiation exposure since the accident. X-ray machines can be used to determine defects in chips as they’re being produced with real-time 3D chip scans and have been used in the advanced chip production process. The commission hasn’t shared further details on the machines that caused the radiation incident at Samsung, however.

The nuclear safety commission will determine if Samsung has violated any safety laws and may take further regulatory action if deemed necessary. Samsung tells Bloomberg it is cooperating with the investigation, supporting the hospitalized workers, and will take steps to prevent future incidents.

Some Samsung factory workers have faced long-term or terminal health impacts over the years, according to nonprofit group Supporters for Health and Right of People in Semiconductor Industry (SHARPS). The organization reported in 2017 that over 200 Samsung workers have experienced some kind of occupational illness. 79 of those illnesses resulted in deaths due to diseases like leukemia, melanoma, or lymphoma. In 2018, Samsung and SHARPS reached an agreement where Samsung made some changes to its workplace practices to prevent future illnesses.

A Samsung union in Korea also announced Wednesday that its workers would take collective action for higher raises and stop work for one day on June 7. The union is also asking for an extra day of annual leave for workers and performance-based bonuses with clear policies around them, Reuters reports.

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In recent years, Samsung has been putting billions of dollars toward ramping up its chip production and expanding that production into the US with new factories. It’s been able to take advantage of different US subsidies in the process, from Biden’s CHIPS Act designed to create US jobs and bring chip production stateside to local property tax breaks.

Samsung is pouring about $44 billion into its US semiconductor manufacturing plans, and aims to build a second chip packaging plant in Taylor, Texas. The first factory has been under construction since 2021 and is expected to begin operations this summer.

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The post Samsung Under Investigation Following Radiation Exposure Accident first appeared on www.pcmag.com

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