The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Fluorine fire called minor at USEC site

A small fluorine fire burned itself out Monday afternoon in a storage building at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

USEC spokeswoman Elizabeth Stuckle said a piping connection malfunctioned around 2 p.m. as the valve on a five-pound bottle of fluorine was being opened in a cabinet. The gas, a hazardous chemical and strong oxidizer, flashed to a small flame and burned out before an emergency squad responded, she said.

The cabinet is vented outside the building. Afterward, no fluorine was detected in the cabinet or downwind of the building, Stuckle said.

A worker sustained a small scrape running from the building. Employees near the release gave precautionary urine samples for testing, she said.

Stuckle said the cause of the release was under investigation.