In the unlikely event of an emergency at URENCO USA, the Emergency Response Organization will ensure prompt, professional response to all emergency situations to minimize consequences and protect members of the public, employees and the environment.
As a standard safeguard, URENCO USA coordinates emergency planning and response measures with federal, state and local emergency response agencies including local law enforcement, fire departments and hospitals in the vicinity. Eunice Fire and Rescue services the URENCO USA site, with the Hobbs Fire Department providing additional firefighting and Hazardous Materials response capabilities. The Lea Regional Medical Center in Hobbs is equipped with trauma services. URENCO USA provides specific training to these organizations as needed to fully safeguard URENCO USA operations.
Under normal operating and transport conditions, there is no hazard to members of the public. Uranium hexafluoride is the chemical form of both feed and product material at the URENCO USA facility. If accidentally released, Uranium Hexafluoride (UF6) reacts with moisture in the air to form Hydrogen Fluoride (HF) gas and Uranyl Fluoride, a soluble Uranium compound. In the very unlikely event of a major release, Hydrogen Fluoride (HF) gas can be carried by the wind and therefore has an effective range of up to 1.5 miles. The chemical properties of Hydrogen Fluoride (HF) pose the greatest potential hazard to workers and the public. Most radioactive material (Uranium) would fall to the ground within a few hundred feet of the facility.
Radiation is found naturally in the environment, especially in this part of New Mexico. Uranium Hexafluoride and Uranyl Fluoride are radioactive, but the radiation emitted is at a very low level. In the unlikely event of a release, the hazard from Uranium is not the radiation, but rather, heavy metal toxicity to the kidneys, should the Uranium be inhaled or ingested. Again, in the unlikely event of a release, the Uranium would fall to the ground within a few hundred feet of the release point.
All questions should be directed to communicationsuusa@URENCO.com