Workers at ORNL evacuated after chemical spill

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Workers at ORNL evacuated after chemical spill

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Workers at ORNL evacuated after chemical spill

WIBR - May 7, 2006

Workers at a facility on the Oak Ridge National Lab campus were evacuated after a chemical spill Saturday. Fluorine gas was accidentally released in one of the buildings just before 1:00 p.m.

No one was injured. The spill was contained in one building. No one outside the facility was affected.

Officials say 15 to 20 people were working in the building when the fluorine release was discovered. They were all evacuated.

Fluorine gas is dangerous if it is inhaled or comes in contact with skin.

Workers were using it to help remove radioactive material fron the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment Facility. That it a facility that was shut down in 1969.

"It is part of what we call our environmental clean-up program, and the facility will be what we call decontaminated, decommissioned, taken down. It is not an active facility today," said U.S. Department of Energy spokesperson Walter Perry.

ORNL emergency response crews tested the area where the gas was released, but they found no damage and no fluorine in the air.

The building where the spill happened will be closed for several days while workers investigate how the spill happened. This will not effect any other operations at ORNL.

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