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The Juzbado Fuel Assembly Factory has conducted the annual emergency drill

A criticality accident after three drums of powder fall: the focus of the annual emergency drill at the Juzbado Factory

  • As a result, four workers were exposed to irradiation and contamination.

  • Once again, the drill has shown that the Enusa emergency organization and the available resources all function properly.

This morning, the Juzbado fuel assembly factory has conducted the annual emergency drill, which took place between 10:30 and 12:00 hours.

On this occasion, the recreated event has been a criticality accident that occurs because of the accumulation of nuclear material after three uranium oxide powder drums fall over and open.

The event begins in the powder warehouse when a worker driving a forklift makes an abrupt maneuver and strongly hits two drums that were on a roller conveyor. Both drums fall down and open, spilling uranium powder. A third drum is left in an unstable position and also finally falls in the same area, thus causing a situation that results in a criticality accident.

As a result, two workers are contaminated and irradiated and another two only irradiated.

The personnel is evacuated from the facility and the four affected workers are cared for by the Enusa Medical Service. The criticality reaction stops by itself and at that moment the drill is declared at an end, with the facility returning to normality.

The drill is one of the Juzbado Interior Emergency Plan requirements. This type of activity is periodically carried out in nuclear facilities to check the proper functioning of the Emergency Organization, the availability of resources and the coordination with the involved agencies.

In this case, the drill has been conducted correctly and within the bounds of normality.

For more information, see the Nuclear Safety Council website where this activity is described.