Tuesday, October 28, 2014

RADWatch: Uranium Hexafluoride Leak at Metropolis, IL Honeywell Plant - Contained? | ENENews/dutchsinse

#RADWatch:

'We have to take their word that all of the gas was kept inside the building….. then released after “cleaning” the air.'


Official: “Plant Emergency” at U.S. Nuclear Facility, Uranium Gas Released — Eyewitnesses: “There’s the plume… It was moving across highway… Chemical taste in mouth… I could smell it!” — Size of release unknown — Emergency crew trying to find source and whether it has stopped (VIDEO)
View of the Honeywell Plant via Support for Honeywell Workers-Metropolis, IL

Published: October 27th, 2014 at 6:02 pm ET
By ENENews 

WPSD (emphasis added): Calls to the newsroom… over a rumor that the Honeywell plant… is leaking uranium hexafloride [UF6] … into the community… Sheriff’s Office [says it] is releasing UF6 [but] no one is in any danger… Spokesperson Peter Dalpe [said there's] no… indication that any material has left the building… the plant immediately notified emergency responders as per emergency procedures.
Paducah Sun: [The plant in Illinois] experienced a leak of a radioactive gas… emergency personnel are still working to find the specific source of the leak… A picture of the plant shrouded in mist was circulating… with speculation that the mist was the actual leaking gas.
West Kentucky Star: [We] received pictures and videos… showing a white, cloudy substance above the plant, moving off to the west… Emergency Management Director Joe Miller [said] Honeywell was under a plant emergency.
AP: The plant helps make nuclear fuel… the company and union-backed workers… are embroiled in a contract dispute. Employees have been locked out of the site…
DOE: UF6… is the chemical form of uranium used during the uranium enrichment process.
WSIL: Honeywell released new information Monday… “The plant is continuing its investigation into the incident and working to determine how much material was released.”… The local union president posted a picture showing a white vapor over the plant… News release [said the] “response team is currently working to ensure the leak has been stopped completely.”… Pictures taken at the plant Sunday night showed white… cloudy substance… Dalpe said it is spray from water that used to contain leaks… [UF6] reacts with water.
Wikipedia: UF6… reacts with the water in the air to produce uranyl fluoride and hydrogen fluoride both of which are highly corrosive and toxic… EU classification: Very toxic

Excerpts from videos published by Steelworker Local 7-669 Union support page — Part 1: “Wind’s blowing to the west… See the haze… that’s all release — UF6… You can see the spray… they’re trying to mitigate it” — Part 2: “There’s the plume of UF6 leaving Honeywell’s property… No fog out… There’s the cloud of either UF6 or HF going right over the fence”
> Marla L.: I could smell something in the air when we went into town> Janet H.: Chemical taste in our mouth… Maybe lil’ headache too> Chelle F.: It was shooting out like a geyser an hour ago… it has definitely left the property. I drove by it… and took the interstate home… it was HUGE — Part 2: It is far from contained> Melissa B.: Didn’t look contained…It was moving across [US] 45…smelled like polish remove!!> Rachel D.: My mom… on mt Mission Rd… can smell something… Dad is currently in chemo> Me’Lissa E.: I live just past Joppa road and could smell it!



10/27/2014 — URANIUM HEXAFLUORIDE (UF6) LEAK AT HONEYWELL PLANT IN METROPOLIS ILLINOIS (UPWIND FROM PADUCAH KY)



Late last night, a troubling situation developed at the Honeywell Uranium Hexafluoride processing facility in Metropolis, Illinois.
I don’t know if we’re to believe the reports that NO gas escaped the facility, rather it was released inside the building and then sprayed by the towers with water to stop the release to the outside.
They’re saying that they’ve sprayed the UF6 in the towers with steam to clean it out of the air… well.. thats NOT good!
From the .gov/edu link on UF6:

quote:
“When UF6 comes into contact with water, such as water vapor in the air, the UF6 and water react, forming corrosive hydrogen fluoride (HF) and a uranium-fluoride compound called uranyl fluoride (UO2F2).”

We have to take their word that all of the gas was kept inside the building….. then released after “cleaning” the air.
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Screenshots from Google Earth show the proximity of the plant to nearby populations in Paducah Kentucky.
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UF6 leak at Metropolis Honeywell plant said to be contained

“UPDATE:
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.
ORIGINAL STORY:
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.”



Uranium hexafluoride does not react with oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, or dry air, but it does react with water or water vapor. For this reason, UF6 is always handled in leak tight containers and processing equipment. When UF6 comes into contact with water, such as water vapor in the air, the UF6 and water react, forming corrosive hydrogen fluoride (HF) and a uranium-fluoride compound called uranyl fluoride (UO2F2).

Uranium Hexafluoride and Its Properties

Uranium hexafluoride is a chemical compound consisting of one atom of uranium combined with six atoms of fluorine. It is the chemical form of uranium that is used during the uranium enrichment process. Within a reasonable range of temperature and pressure, it can be a solid, liquid, or gas. Solid UF6 is a white, dense, crystalline material that resembles rock salt.

UF6 and Uranium Processing

The gaseous diffusion process used to enrich uranium requires uranium in the form of UF6. In the first step of UF6 production, uranium ore is mined and sent to a mill where uranium oxide (often called “yellowcake”) is produced. The uranium oxide is then sent to a UF6 production facility. At the production facility, the uranium oxide is combined with anhydrous HF and fluorine gas in a series of chemical reactions to form the chemical compound UF6. The product UF6 is placed into steel cylinders and shipped as a solid to a gaseous diffusion plant for enrichment.
nprocess
Uranium – From Ore to Reactor Fuel
Uranium hexafluoride is used in uranium processing because its unique properties make it very convenient. It can conveniently be used as a gas for processing, as a liquid for filling or emptying containers or equipment, and as a solid for storage, all at temperatures and pressures commonly used in industrial processes.

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