Fire Hazards with Uranium Hexafluoride Cylinders

Issue 2 and Volume 142.

Fire Hazards with Uranium Hexafluoride Cylinders HAZARDOUS MATERIALS All photos by Frank Hoffman, ORO Photographic Services. FIRE DEPARTMENT and other emergency service personnel must be aware of the fire hazards associated with the transportation of uranium hexafluoride (UF6). UF6 is a chemical produced, transported, and processed by the nuclear industry prior to its conversion into reactor fuels. It is a radioactive and corrosive material with significant nonradiological chemical hazards. Since the 1940s, millions of tons of UF6 have been transported around the world, reportedly without a serious transportation accident that has caused any injury or death from either radiological or chemical exposure. Although past experience indicates that the probability of a serious transportation accident is relatively low, the consequences of fire exposure to a UF6 cylinder could be disastrous. Recent events and analytical models have verified the potential hazards from the overheating of UF6 cylinders. In 1986, at a uranium-to-UF6…

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