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Sodium fire reported at INL Materials & Fuels Complex

November 11, 2011

Update 4:00 p.m.:

Employees are now allowed to leave their buildings and will be boarding buses home at the usual time.

Everyone examined for potential injury has been cleared to return to work.

Emergency response personnel responded to Friday’s event at the INL’s Materials and Fuels Complex. It is believed that a sodium reaction resulted in a sudden pressure increase which compromised the system integrity. The compromise in the system set off fire alarms in the vicinity. An investigation is continuing.

CWI crews began treating sodium Thursday in the Sodium Boiler Building by intentionally introducing a liquid into piping containing the metal to force a reaction and render the material safer to package and dispose. Sodium reacts with water or other liquids causing high heat and smoke.

Emergency responders have reentered the control room of the building, but they have not reentered the boiler room.

A recovery plan is under way concurrent with a comprehensive investigation.

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