PIKETON, Ohio — Radioactive material used to enrich uranium fuel for nuclear reactors at a U.S. Department of Energy plant was leaking for three weeks before the leak was detected, but the company said Sunday that there was no abnormal level of radioactivity in the air.
The escape of 108.8 pounds of the gas uranium hexafluoride was discovered Friday, said Tim Matchett of the Goodyear Atomic Corp., which operates the plant for the DOE.
"There was no significant concentration (in the air)," Matchett said of air-monitoring results. "It provides further confirmation that there would be no adverse effects."
The gas apparently escaped through a vent at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The leak was discovered when data from a new emissions-monitoring system was checked, Matchett said.