Y-12 fire in February caused by ‘known hazard’

Officials at Y-12 in Oak Ridge say they have determined the cause of last month’s fire that resulted in a facility-wide emergency.

On February 22nd, chips of uranium material from machining activity that had been processed for storage underwent a chemical reaction called rapid exothermic oxidation, which occurs when some elements are exposed to oxygen in the air. Officials say that this is a known hazard with safety protocols in place.

The fire was contained to a one-square-foot space under a filtered hood in an area designed for work with radioactive objects.

Y-12 says that petroleum coke was used in an attempt to extinguish the flames, but the fire was not immediately suppressed, so the Y-12 Fire Department was called. The building was then evacuated, and out of an abundance of caution, officials declared an emergency. Fire crews applied additional petroleum coke, which finally put the blaze out.

As officials stated the day of the incident, no injuries were reported and there was no off-site contamination or impact off-site. That day, they also said that all of the safety precautions that were in place worked as they were supposed to and that officials were “satisfied” with the response.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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