Wednesday morning, a truck carrying uranium encountered an unexpected collision with a passenger van. This turned into a mass evacuation of the nearby area to the dangers of a hazardous leak. The crash happened in North Carolina.
Uranium is a radioactive material that can cause harm to the human body, whereas long exposure can even cause cancer like bone cancer or liver cancer. Thankfully no one was injured. A HAZMAT team arrived to clear the scene and after five hours all drivers were allowed to get back to their cars.
The uranium the truck was carrying was a special kind called uranium hexafluoride. This ingredient is used to make nuclear power plant fuel. This is a highly corrosive chemical that emits radioactive particles which can be breathed in, swallowed, or can penetrate the skin. There was no risk in the crash because according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, the truck didn’t leak any of the material.
The crash caused two barrels of uranium hexafluoride to fall out of the truck and roll off into the highway. These two were a major concern however, the HAZMAT that arrived at the scene confirmed that both barrels held up pretty well. Although one of them was a little damaged, no leak happened to it was loaded back into the truck.
This was a close call as if that barrel had leaked they have had to close off that part of the highway for a while. There was a total of four large barrels that total up to 1,000 gallons of uranium hexafluoride.