A suspected hydrogen fluoride leak was reported at the Oak Ridge atomic weapons plant. However, officials at Y-12 National Security Complex reported no casualties.
It was Thursday morning when the incident occurred. Officials involved already held a press conference regarding the issue and assured the public that no one inside the plant got hurt.
No Indication Of Chemical Leak
Authorities believe that the incident was not a result of human error but rather a faulty sensor. It was just before 8:00 a.m. when a potential chemical release triggered the sensors inside a processing enclosure inside the plant.
Workers and other personnel were quickly evacuated in a nearby building and according to plant manager Consolidated Nuclear Security, the processing enclosure's scrubber system is working to dissipate the level of chemical inside the enclosure.
"There's going to be a lengthy investigation into the cause of the sensor alert," said Consolidated Nuclear Security spokesman Gene Patterson. "We don't know how much of the chemical leaked or if it was just a faulty sensor that caused the alert."
The Consolidated Nuclear Security is also positive that the chemical didn't manage to escape the enclosure into its nearby environment, and that no worker is inside the facility when the incident occurred. All plant operations went back to normal and all workers were cleared to work just before 10:00 a.m.
Not A Danger To The Community
The press conference was held by the Y-12 officials after the incident and they assured the public that the incident isn't a danger to the surrounding community.
"Appropriate precautionary protective actions have been initiated for Y-12 employees who are in the vicinity of the incident and who are not involved in the emergency response. At this time, there is no offsite impact to the public as a result of the incident," reads the statement.
The officials also stated that although the incident wasn't alarming, they are still going to investigate the situation very seriously to prevent the same thing from happening again.
Hydrogen fluoride is an extremely dangerous, colorless chemical that becomes a highly corrosive acid every time it's exposed to moisture. It generates strong fumes that can cause extreme burns on instant contact, and causes dangerous fluid buildup in the lungs and heart when breathed.