Radiation Scare at Port of Halifax

File photo of the Ceres shipping terminal at the Port of Halifax. Photo courtesy Cerescorp
File photo of the Ceres shipping terminal at the Port of Halifax. Photo courtesy Cerescorp

An emergency HAZMAT team was called to the Ceres shipping terminal at the port of Halifax Thursday night after reports of a possible radiation leak.

Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency Hazardous-Materials first responders were called to the scene just before 10 p.m., and upon arrival were informed that as many as four cylinders containing radioactive Uranium Hexafluoride fell about 20 feet from inside a container as it was being move from a ship to the dock. The cylinders landed inside a contained portion of the ship, sparking fears that some of the material may have leaked.

A statement from the Halifax Regional Municipality said that there has been no indication that anything leaked and there were no reported no injures. All employees have also tested negative for radiation contamination.

Fire officials conducted tests approximately 20 feet from the container and determined radioactive levels were three to four times normal background levels.

As a safety precaution, fire officials evacuated the immediate area, but there is no need for further evacuations as the materials on the ship are not expected to spread.

An emergency response team from Toronto is expected to arrive Friday to conduct an investigation and a more detailed assessment of the scene.

The ship’s crew have taken to a nearby motel, according to reports in the media.

Uranium hexafluoride, referred to as “hex” in the nuclear industry, is a compound used in the uranium enrichment process that produces fuel for nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons.