The unclassified cylinders emit nontoxic smoke and are used to block an intruder's view in a secure location, Washington Savannah River Co. spokeswoman Fran Poda said.
The crated "cold smoke cylinders" were shipped in September to the SRS Community Reuse Organization in Snelling, S.C., under a program in which the site donates excess materials so they can be distributed to benefit the community or sold.
Jim Arflin, the site's asset management and logistics manager, said the devices are no longer used at SRS but should not have been sent to the reuse center. When used as designed, they are not hazardous, he said, but because they contain chemicals to activate the smoke, they are ineligible for the program.
The cylinders were returned to SRS on Thursday and will be handled through a chemical disposal program, as they should have been to start with.
Ms. Poda said more stringent screening procedures are being evaluated to make sure inappropriate materials aren't sent to the Snelling site.
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