Radiochemistry Facility (TA-48-1): On Jan. 23rd, three continuous air monitors alarmed during routine operations being performed in TA-48-1 hot cells in support of medical isotope production. Personnel evacuated appropriately, and nasals smears of affected individuals were negative.
An air compressor failure caused inlet air dampers on two exhaust fans to close, securing ventilation air flow to the hot cells. With hot cell ventilation isolated, exhaust flow from an adjacent fume hood caused the required differential pressure between the hot cells and occupied gallery area to be lost. The change in differential pressure created conditions for an air-flow reversal where contaminated air was drawn from the hot cells into the area where personnel were performing work. No alarms are installed to alert personnel of ventilation failure. Hot cell operations are suspended pending equipment repair and installation of personnel warning devices.
Mar 5, 2008
TA-48 Contamination Event - Official Version
The Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board weekly report covering the germanium exposures at TA-48 is now available. For those who are wondering, the half-life of germanium-68 is 270.8 days.