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Friday, June 30, 2017

Another Fire at LANL but Not a Fire Just Flames

On Wednesday, May 31, two post-doctoral researchers at the TA-48 Radiochemistry facility observed flames from the depleted uranium metal turnings that they were cleaning with nitric acid in a fume hood. The researchers choose not to fight the fire, closed the hood sash, pulled the fire alarm, and contacted 911. The Los Alamos County Fire Department, LANL emergency management, and the LANL hazardous materials team responded. No radioactive contamination, injuries, or damage beyond the containment tray in the fume hood occurred. Facility, program, and emergency response personnel held a fact-finding on Thursday to discuss the response. Of relevance to the broader emergency management program at the laboratory, several individuals indicated that they did not receive a mass notification message to stay clear of TA-48 because the notification is based on office location and some TA-48 users have their offices in other locations. No corrective action was assigned for this point. Facility personnel discussed challenges using their accountability process during the lunch hour and proposed to review the process and conduct a future accountability drill. Management also concluded that the fire did not meet Department of Energy reporting criteria for a fire and instead reported the event as a management concern.


Anonymous said...

Did the two post-docs have any supervision working with the uranium? It's amazing they were not seriously burned in the incident. Management absent at LANL; it's seems incidents at LANL are increasing in number as LANS begins to fade. Did Charlie already go home to Livermore?

Anonymous said...

"Management (LANS) also concluded that the fire did not meet Department of Energy reporting criteria for a fire and instead reported the event as a management concern."

If it looks like a fire, smokes and smells like a fire, burns like a fire, has heat like a fire, has flames like a fire, and warrants pulling a fire alarm, IT MIGHT BE A FIRE! How many buildings have to burn down or how many people have to be injured or worse to be a fire? Another LANS "cover up".

Anonymous said...

This is not the first time a student or post-doc has had an accident at LANL, and everyone should be glad that no one was reported to be seriously injured this time.


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