A governmental nuclear research and development institute began work here Monday to ship soil contaminated with uranium to the United States, but the work was soon suspended when a bag packed with radioactive soil accidentally fell off a truck.

The work to transport the contaminated soil from Yurihama, Tottori Prefecture, to the U.S. for disposal has been put on hold until steps are taken to ensure the safety of shipments, officials at the Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute said. Initially, the work was to last 19 days.

Some 40 workers began packing the soil at around 8:30 a.m. and prepared eight bags for shipment. But at 10 a.m., one of the bags fell from a truck while being transported, causing slight injuries to a worker.