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Acid leak spurs ‘safe shutdown’ at NFS

After a leak of nitric acid at Nuclear Fuel Services around noon on Monday, NFS spokesperson Lauri Turpin said the plant has taken all the appropriate precautionary measures and plans to resume normal operations soon.
“We’re currently transferring the acid out of the containment area into recovery vessels,” Turpin said Monday afternoon. “We’ll continue to do that until it’s complete and then we’ll look at going back to normal operations.”
Turpin said no one was injured in the leak, which occurred within an outdoor bulk chemical storage area, a statement from the company said.
The acid that leaked, which could have produced hazardous fumes if combined with water, was contained by a dike designed specifically for containing the material, the company said in a press release three hours after the incident.
According to the company, local, state and federal authorities were notified of the incident and unconfirmed reports indicated that Tennessee Department of Transportation officials were prepared to close state roadways, including Interstate 26, if necessary.
“Facility operations are in safe shutdown,” the release said. “As a precautionary measure, employees working in nearby areas were redirected to another NFS facility.”
The company said “two employees were seen by NFS medical staff and released” and that “no injuries have been reported.”
Neither the company nor Turpin disclosed the circumstances that led to the acid leak, but Turpin assured that all protocols were followed and safe plant operations would resume swiftly.
Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Ronnie Adkins indicated on Monday that the plant had informed law enforcement officers in the county about the incident, but dispatchers confirmed that no officers had to be sent to the facility.