Cause of the Fire at Y-12 in Oak Ridge is Released

Cause of the Fire at Y-12 in Oak Ridge is Released

Officials with Y-12 released the reason behind a fire in one of their buildings last month.

Chips of uranium metal from machining activity had been processed for storage which was done in accordance with the standard operating procedure sparked the February 22nd fire.

Officials say the metal underwent rapid exothermic oxidation, which is a chemical reaction that happens when some elements are exposed to oxygen in the air. This is a known hazard when dealing with uranium that crews were aware of and had prepared for.

There was no offsite impact after that uranium fire and no injuries were reported.

Y-12 representative Kathryn King releasing this statement: We are recognized as the nation’s Uranium Center of Excellence. We understand the properties of uranium and have established plans to mitigate those hazards. The hazardous materials with which we work are necessary for our national security missions. Because we know the risks of those materials, we have processes, protocols, and procedures in place. Our conservative response to the February 22 event reflects our highest priority: to protect workers, the public, and the environment.