Chemical leak prompts NFS shutdown

Brad Hicks • Jan 9, 2012 at 11:51 PM

ERWIN — A Monday afternoon chemical leak at the Nuclear Fuel Services facility led to the shutdown of the facility and relocation of employees working nearby.

According to a release issued by NFS, at around noon Monday, a nitric acid leak occurred in an outdoor chemical storage area. NFS Communications Manager Lauri Turpin said Monday evening that the leak’s causehas not yet been determined and the event will be the subject of an investigation.

The release states the nitric acid, which may mix with water to cause potentially hazardous fumes, was contained by a dike designed for such a purpose. Turpin said safety measures in place at NFS in the event of a leak worked as designed.

The NFS release, which was issued at around 3:10 p.m. Monday, said facility operations are in a “safe shutdown.” Turpin said that in a safe shutdown, operations on certain process lines are halted and NFS procedure is followed to ensure these areas are in a stable condition.

As a precautionary measure, employees working in areas nearby to the leak were redirected to another NFS facility. Two employees were seen by NFS medical staff and were released. No injuries were reported.

At the time the release was issued, the acid contained in the dike was being transferred to recovery vessels.

NFS also notified local, state and federal authorities, according to the release.

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