NRC to send inspectors to Nuclear Fuel Services

ERWIN, Tenn. (AP) -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is investigating problems with protected enclosures for handling uranium solution at the Nuclear Fuel Services Inc. processing plant in Erwin.

The regulatory agency said Thursday it is sending an inspection team to the plant next week to assess a company discovery March 4 that overflow drains in some glove boxes were not operating correctly. The boxes allow workers to handle radioactive materials through gloved openings without releasing contaminants.

The company has shut down 23 glove boxes until the issue is resolved.

During the inspection, the NRC said investigators will review the company's response to this event and a similar problem in 2005. In 2006, 9 gallons of uranium solution spilled from a NFS glove box.

The 793-employee plant is owned by Lynchburg, Va.-based Babcock & Wilcox Co.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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