Oak Ridge National Laboratory is investigating an elevated radiation level in the cooling system at the High Flux Isotope Reactor, a research reactor that also produces isotopes.
Workers were bringing HFIR back online on Tuesday, November 13, after a planned outage when the elevated radiation level was detected in the cooling system, according to information provided by David Keim, ORNL communications director.
“HFIR operators decided to shut down the reactor in order to investigate and determine what happened,” Keim said. “The plant is in a safe condition.”
No workers received any exposure, and there was no residual contamination outside the primary system, Keim said. Radiation detection equipment around the building and throughout the ORNL campus showed normal background levels, he said.
Keim said HFIR had just started a a new cycle when the issue was discovered.
“The operators proactively decided to shut HFIR down well before the plant advanced to a condition prompting automatic shutdown,” Keim said. “The laboratory is investigating the cause.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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