In a message to employees, Y‑12 Site Manager Bill Tindal brought employees up-to-date regarding the status of the purification facility. In referencing the Dec. 16, 2014, acetonitrile spill, Tindal noted that the spill was relatively small (about one gallon), had no impact on personnel and was not detected outside the building.
Evaluation of the spill indicated that some system maintenance should have been performed earlier. As Tindal noted, “Performing the maintenance earlier would have suspended operations for several days. Delaying the maintenance resulted in suspending operations for several weeks.”
In those several weeks, the plant has established multiple controls to prevent a similar occurrence. Staff have also overhauled one of the process components and modified another to substantially decrease the likelihood of another spill.
In closing, Tindal challenged employees to take the long view in assessing the tasks that need to be completed to ensure the safety and reliability of processes for the long run.