Emergency Services Respond to Fire at Y-12 Uranium Processing Facility in Oak Ridge

Emergency response personnel responded to the Y‑12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge on Wednesday after a fire broke out in “a hood” inside production building 9212. Y-12 is one of six production facilities in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) Nuclear Security Enterprise.

Building 9212 serves as one of the primary chemical processing and enriched uranium production facilities at Y-12.

Y-12 announced that emergency response personnel were at the scene of the reported fire shortly after 9 a.m. on Wednesday. There was no off-site impact to the public as a result of the fire at the time Y-12 announced the incident, and “appropriate precautionary actions” were initiated for facility employees.

The facility confirmed that the incident was contained to the production building.  Approximately 200 employees inside building 9212 and surrounding areas were evacuated.

Shortly after noon, Y-12 further confirmed that no injuries or contaminations were reported due to the incident. Likewise, curfews were lifted at the site and all oncoming shifts were not disrupted.

The Y-12 facility was constructed as part of the World War II Manhattan Project, which provided the enriched uranium for Little Boy, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. After WWII, the Oak Ridge facility provided lithium separation and key components for the thermonuclear weapons that helped end the Cold War.

With its expertise in machining, handling, and protecting radiological materials, Y-12 has become a vital part of the nation’s nuclear security. The city of Oak Ridge was recently designated as a World War II Heritage City due to the secret work conducted in the area to develop the Manhattan Project, as previously reported by The Tennessee Star.

Y-12 employs over 7,500 Tennesseans.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Y-12 Facility” by Y-12.




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