There was a confirmed uranium hexafluoride release at Honeywell Works in Metropolis, IL at 8pm tonight. Sirens have sounded and Honeywell guards have told people to shelter in place, close windows, and turn off A/C.
The Honeywell Works converts raw uranium into uranium hexafluoride. It is then pumped across the Ohio River to the Paducah plant, for the manufacture of nuclear fuel for nuke power plants.
There were two major releases of UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) from this plant in May 2012, they were covered here at:
UF6 is very dangerous. For one thing, it is a neutron emitter like plutonium. The hydrofluoric acid that is created on contact with water vapor is corrosive and deadly. You don’t want to breathe this stuff.
It was noted to be moving west from Metropolis. Wind maps indicate that the wind is from the southeast, so the plume would be moving northwest. Cape Girardeau MO and St Louis MO, or points in between, would seem to be where it is headed. And it won’t stop there.
UPDATE 10/29: From Radchick. NRC: Status of Honeywell Accident 10.29.14
*NRC is on-site, has been since Monday (one guy).
*Area in plant is still being decontaminated.
*Plant is SHUT DOWN until investigation is complete.
*Investigator interviews show sabotage was unlikely.
*Preliminary indications is there was a weakness in joint at bottom of one container, metallurgic forensic testing may be needed. Leak was stopped sometime Sunday evening, but he wasn’t sure exactly when.
*SO FAR it doesn’t look like contamination made it over the fence, but they are still looking at data. Sketchy answer.
*Aware of reports of people smelling and tasting something possibly toxic.
*Runoff “probably” went into drains and wells will show it, but he was unsure if drains even exist on property!
*No indication Ohio River was contaminated, EPA (and possibly Illinois FEMA?) is there testing too.
*Not aware of anyone from surrounding community that went to ER for treatment, but he was a bit sketchy about this. Community hospitals seem to have NO PLAN in the event of an emergency. I find it very surprising in light of the numerous leaks that have occurred there. That’s bad, and needs to be addressed by the local hospitals and community leaders at once imo.
30 days til final report is released, prelim report in as early as several days.