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)
Published: October 27th, 2014 at 6:02 pm ET
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!
Watch the videos here