Some 35 liters, or just over 9 gallons, of highly enriched uranium solution leaked from a transfer line into a protected glovebox and spilled onto the floor. The leak was discovered when a supervisor saw a yellow liquid ``running into a hallway'' from under a door, according to one document.
The commission said there were two areas, the glovebox and an old elevator shaft, where the solution potentially could have collected in such a way to cause an uncontrolled nuclear reaction.
``It is likely that at least one worker would have received an exposure high enough to cause acute health effects or death,'' the agency wrote.
It happened at Nuclear Fuel Services [that photo scares me], a company in tiny [and scenic!] Erwin, TN, that has been converting weapons-grade uranium into fuel for your neighborhood nuclear power plant [mostly a good thing], but can't tell you that it damn near nuked you because that would be giving out government secrets.
Tenn. Nuclear Fuel Problems Kept Secret
Monday August 20, 2007 9:01 PM
By DUNCAN MANSFIELD
Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A three-year veil of secrecy in the name of national security was used to keep the public in the dark about the handling of highly enriched uranium at a nuclear fuel processing plant - including a leak that could have caused a deadly, uncontrolled nuclear reaction.
The leak turned out to be one of nine violations or test failures since 2005 at privately owned Nuclear Fuel Services Inc., a longtime supplier of fuel to the U.S. Navy's nuclear fleet.
The public was never told about the problems when they happened. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission revealed them for the first time last month when it released an order demanding improvements at the company, but no fine.