The National Nuclear Security Administration reported a major fire at an Oak Ridge uranium processing plant owned by the Y-12 National Security Complex has been put out.
According to Y-12 communications manager Taz Painter in an email to Knox News, the uranium processing facility in building 9212 was the origin of the 9:14 a.m. fire at the Y-12 complex.
Workers in the facility put out the fire as instructed, then called for assistance from emergency authorities, claims Y-12. According to Y-12, Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, and the National Nuclear Security Administration are in charge of such response.
Also, according to officials, around 200 employees in the building as well as other workers in nearby buildings were evacuated.
Employees from building 9212 and other locations were evacuated in large numbers. According to a 12:30 p.m. update from Y-12, no injuries or contamination were discovered, and all evacuated staff were accounted for.
As per officials, no radioactive material was released because the air monitors did not sound. By midday, officials declared that they were still unsure of the fire’s origin.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” said Gene Patterson, Y-12 spokesman. “We are still in the process of figuring out exactly what that timeline is on what happened this morning.”
Y-12 stated to WVLT News that going ahead, they will concentrate on determining what actually occurred and that they have plans to reveal the fire’s cause in the future. Moreover, officials were unable to provide a timeframe for the reopening of Building 9212.
At about 1 p.m., authorities declared that normal operations had resumed throughout the complex. However, they did not initially confirm if the fire was put out.
The Y-12 National Security Complex holds nuclear materials, produces components for the country’s nuclear weapons deterrence, and gives enriched uranium to the U.S. Navy. With 7,800 total employees, Y-12 was the fourth-largest employer in the Knoxville region in 2022.