2014 Honeywell UF6 Processing Facility Radiation Release

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HAZMAT in USA on Monday, 27 October, 2014 at 03:49 (03:49 AM) UTC.

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A Honeywell spokesperson says there is not an active release at the plant anymore. Emergency personnel are still working to determine a specific source of the release. Peter Dalpe said the white cloudy substance many people reported seeing at the plant is spray from the water towers used to contain leaks. The mitigation towers were directed at the production facility to ensure that no material escaped the building. Daple said that is standard emergency procedure at the site. We have received multiple phone calls to the newsroom tonight over a rumor that the Honeywell plant in Metropolis is leaking uranium hexa-floride, or UF6, into the community. We have contacted the Massac County Sheriff’s Office. They tell us Honeywell is releasing UF6, but it is an in-house release. The sheriff’s office says no one is in any danger. Honeywell Spokesperson Peter Dalpe sent our newsroom a statement that reads, ‘The Metropolis facility experienced a leak of UF6 in its main production building at approximately 7:35 p.m. local time. The leak has been contained and a trained response team is currently working to ensure the leak has been stopped completely. There have been no injuries and there is no indication that any material has left the building. All plant emergency procedures were followed and safety equipment worked as designed.’ Dalpe also said the plant immediately notified emergency responders as per emergency procedures.

Reported Chemical Leak At Honeywell Plant Metropolis
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeywell_Uranium_Hexafluoride_Processing_Facility

Previous Release December 22, 2003

At 0245 CST on 12/22/03, a small release of Uranium hexafluoride occurred lasting approximately 45 minutes. At 0300 CST the licensee declared a Site Area Emergency, indicating failure of systems design to prevent risk to the public. All personnel were evacuated within a 1 mile radius. About 25 people offsite were temporarily evacuated and some 75 persons remained sheltered for a time in their homes. Licensee notified State of Illinois. NRC was notified at 0400 CST.

In September of 2010, The Huffington Post reported a hydrogen release caused a loud explosion which could be heard and felt a mile away.

In March 2011, Buzzfeed reported that Honeywell had to pay a $11.8 million criminal fine for improperly storing hazardous waste.

Also in 2011, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the plant $119,000 for safety violations.

In 2012, there were 2 major releases of UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) as reported by OptimalPrediction here and here.

In January of this year, the plant was fined another $90,000 for “three dangerous releases of hydrogen fluoride.”

The Huntington Post stated about the explosive event in 2010:

On Saturday, nuclear regulators allowed Honeywell to start-up core production at the facility, where core production had been shut down for over two months due to concerns about the training of replacement workers. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission delayed reopening the plant for several days after questions were raised about the unusually high levels of uranium that were appearing in the urine tests of several nuclear workers.

The following day, a hydrogen explosion rocked the plant. The blast shook the ground in front of the plant and could be heard a mile away, according to local reports. State Trooper Bridget Rice said that police were called to investigate to the scene of the explosion after receiving several phone calls reporting an explosion at the plant. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Roger Hannah also confirmed that there was indeed “a small hydrogen explosion that was very loud” at the Metropolis facility.