Updated around 8:50 p.m.: It has been confirmed that the Y-12 emergency response operation has ended, according to Communications Manager Taz Painter.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Officials with Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge said there were no injuries nor any indication of a release of radioactivity after a fire involving uranium occurred early Wednesday.
According to a release from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, the fire occurred at 9:14 a.m. Steven Wyatt with NNSA said that there was a hood fire in Building 9212, a uranium procession facility. The building and some nearby areas were evacuated.
Tony Boser, a technical adviser, said that the fire was in a processing area and it was contained to that area. The cause of the fire is not yet known. Patterson said an investigation is ongoing.
All employees have been accounted for and there were no injuries, Consolidated Nuclear Security spokesperson Gene Patterson said. CNS is contracted by the NNSA to operate Y-12.
Continuous air monitors in the area have not alerted officials to any release of radioactivity, Wyatt said. Officials said there are no impacts to the public and a shelter-in-place order for employees was lifted around 11:30 a.m.
According to the Y-12 website, a new uranium processing facility is being constructed to phase out dependency on Building 9212. The building was constructed in 1945 and has undergone multiple renovations and repairs over time.
Y-12 National Security Complex shared on social media that a hotline was set up to address the incident. The phone number shared by Y-12 was 865-576-0038.
NNSA said that appropriate precautionary protective actions were initiated for Y-12 employees who were in the area of the incident and were not involved in the emergency response.
A media center has been established in the area. Public information will be made available on Facebook and Twitter.
Y-12 is responsible for the production, surveillance, dismantlement and storage of nuclear components; reducing global nuclear threats by detecting, removing and securing nuclear material; and providing fuel feedstock for Naval Reactors.
Read the timeline of the incident on the WATE Live Blog.