A man whose garage was built 17 years ago with lumber salvaged from a uranium processing plant was surprised to learn the wood is still radioactive.

Hank Novak, who obtained the lumber when the former Chemetron Co. plant was remodeled, said he used the wood to build a garage at his home in suburban Parma."I was a draftsman's assistant to the engineer when they tore the building down," he said. "When they told me to burn it, I thought I could use it to build my garage. The wood was dirty and had staples in it, but was otherwise usable. I was happy when they let me take it home."

Novak sold the home a few years later. Novak said he thought nothing of it until reading a recent newspaper story about residual radioactivity at the plant.

When an Ohio Department of Health worker ran a radiation check on the boards last week, he found they were still radioactive.

Initial tests showed a radioactivity level too low to be a health hazard.