No injuries were reported during a fire at a transformer for a salt bath used to heat depleted uranium at the Y-12 National Security Complex in May.
The transformer fire was reported Monday, May 20, in Building 9215 at Y-12. It burned no more than about 25 minutes, according to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. No depleted uranium was being processed at the time of the fire, the board said.
The salt bath heats depleted uranium before metalworking operations.
The DNFSB said the system engineer had stepped away from the salt bath while it was slowly heating to a new temperature, and he noticed the fire after re-entering the area after a supervisor told him about an unusual odor, the DNFSB said. The engineer called 911, and all personnel evacuated the immediate area.
The Y-12 fire department responded, and the supervisor and firefighters discussed the fact that using water in the area near the salt bath might cause a problem given the extremely high temperature of the salt, the DNFSB said in a May 24 report. The firefighters extinguished the fire using a dry chemical extinguishing agent.
Radiological control personnel determined no respirator use was required in the area after they performed air sampling and surface swipes. Damage appeared to be limited to the transformer, the DNFSB said.
Consolidated Nuclear Security, the federal contractor that operates and manages Y-12 for the National Nuclear Security Administration, had a “fact finding meeting and a hot wash,” the safety board said. “No significant issues were identified during the fact finding meeting. No decision regarding the need for a critique had been made at the time of this report.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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