Video update here:
Late last night, a troubling situation developed at the Honeywell Uranium Hexafluoride processing facility in Metropolis, Illinois.
I don’t know if we’re to believe the reports that NO gas escaped the facility, rather it was released inside the building and then sprayed by the towers with water to stop the release to the outside.
They’re saying that they’ve sprayed the UF6 in the towers with steam to clean it out of the air… well.. thats NOT good!
From the .gov/edu link on UF6:
“When UF6 comes into contact with water, such as water vapor in the air, the UF6 and water react, forming corrosive hydrogen fluoride (HF) and a uranium-fluoride compound called uranyl fluoride (UO2F2).”
We have to take their word that all of the gas was kept inside the building….. then released after “cleaning” the air.
Screenshots from Google Earth show the proximity of the plant to nearby populations in Paducah Kentucky.
UF6 leak at Metropolis Honeywell plant said to be contained
A Honeywell spokesperson says there is not an active release at the plant anymore. Emergency personnel are still working to determine a specific source of the release.
Peter Dalpe said the white cloudy substance many people reported seeing at the plant is spray from the water towers used to contain leaks. The mitigation towers were directed at the production facility to ensure that no material escaped the building. Daple said that is standard emergency procedure at the site.
We have received multiple phone calls to the newsroom tonight over a rumor that the Honeywell plant in Metropolis is leaking uranium hexa-floride, or UF6, into the community.
We have contacted the Massac County Sheriff’s Office. They tell us Honeywell is releasing UF6, but it is an in-house release. The sheriff’s office says no one is in any danger.
Honeywell Spokesperson Peter Dalpe sent our newsroom a statement that reads, “The Metropolis facility experienced a leak of UF6 in its main production building at approximately 7:35 p.m. local time. The leak has been contained and a trained response team is currently working to ensure the leak has been stopped completely. There have been no injuries and there is no indication that any material has left the building. All plant emergency procedures were followed and safety equipment worked as designed.”
Dalpe also said the plant immediately notified emergency responders as per emergency procedures.”
Uranium Hexafluoride and Its Properties
Uranium hexafluoride is a chemical compound consisting of one atom of uranium combined with six atoms of fluorine. It is the chemical form of uranium that is used during the uranium enrichment process. Within a reasonable range of temperature and pressure, it can be a solid, liquid, or gas. Solid UF6 is a white, dense, crystalline material that resembles rock salt.
Uranium hexafluoride does not react with oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, or dry air, but it does react with water or water vapor. For this reason, UF6 is always handled in leak tight containers and processing equipment. When UF6 comes into contact with water, such as water vapor in the air, the UF6 and water react, forming corrosive hydrogen fluoride (HF) and a uranium-fluoride compound called uranyl fluoride (UO2F2).
UF6 and Uranium Processing
The gaseous diffusion process used to enrich uranium requires uranium in the form of UF6. In the first step of UF6 production, uranium ore is mined and sent to a mill where uranium oxide (often called “yellowcake”) is produced. The uranium oxide is then sent to a UF6 production facility. At the production facility, the uranium oxide is combined with anhydrous HF and fluorine gas in a series of chemical reactions to form the chemical compound UF6. The product UF6 is placed into steel cylinders and shipped as a solid to a gaseous diffusion plant for enrichment.
Uranium hexafluoride is used in uranium processing because its unique properties make it very convenient. It can conveniently be used as a gas for processing, as a liquid for filling or emptying containers or equipment, and as a solid for storage, all at temperatures and pressures commonly used in industrial processes.