Media reports about past government radiation experiments are causing needless alarm, says Dixy Lee Ray, former chairwoman of the Atomic Energy Commission.

Ray also said Thursday that Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary, who is releasing previously classified documents about federal research conducted in the 1940s and 50s, is too quick to place blame."I think the secretary of energy is trying to distract attention from other things by blaming all of her predecessors for things she says are terrible," Ray said.

Small amounts of radiation are common, safe and even useful, Ray said.

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Ray, 79, led the AEC from 1973-1975, before it was replaced by the Department of Energy. She served as governor of Washington from 1977 to 1981.

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