The incident involved employees performing work related to the refueling and maintenance outage at the Salem 2 plant.

LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK TWP. — Seven workers were sickened by fumes inside of a nuclear reactor containment building Thursday evening, an official said.

The incident took place around 9 p.m. Thursday at the Salem 2 plant, according to Joe Delmar, a spokesman for PSEG Nuclear.

It prompted the company to declare an “unusual event,” the lowest of four emergency classifications at a nuclear plant. That declaration was lifted by plant officials at 12:58 p.m. Friday.

Salem 2 is one of three nuclear reactors operated by PSEG at its Artificial Island generating complex in Lower Alloways Creek Township. The unit had been taken out of service for scheduled refueling and maintenance.

The workers were inside the containment building at Salem 2, the dome-shaped structure where the nuclear reactor is located, Delmar said Friday.

Fumes from hydrazine, a colorless liquid with an ammonia-like smell used to clean and preserve equipment built up inside the containment building. The hydrazine easily evaporate when exposed to the air.

After some of the workers began feeling the effects of the hydrazine, the containment building was evacuated, Delmar said.

Air samples were taken, he said, and it was “determined that hydrazine was present inside containment at levels which posed a safety risk to plant personnel.”

While the levels of hydrazine in the area were Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exposure limit at all times, more conservative limits established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) were followed to protect plant personnel, Delmar said.

Short term exposure to hydrazine can possibly lead to irritated eyes, nose and throats as well as dizziness, headaches or nausea, Delmar said.

All seven of the workers who suffered symptoms from the hydrazine exposure were treated on scene …read more

Source:: New Jersey Real -Time News

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