MOSES LAKE, Washington, June 15, 2012: An emergency alarm activated today at 7:05 a.m. at the facility. Local emergency services were notified and responded. A visible chemical cloud formed and drifted from the facility to the south. Roads surrounding the plant were closed as a precaution and have since re-opened.
One REC Silicon employee reported to the facility onsite dispensary for first-aid treatment and was released. Community members who believe they were affected by the incident are urged to call their doctor or otherwise seek medical attention.
Jeff Johnson, Director of Operations for the Moses Lake facility, said, “We regret this incident and its impacts on the community. We’re aware of eleven people who have already sought medical attention and have since been released. We urge anyone who believes they have been affected to seek medical care.”
The vapor cloud was a result of a chemical hose losing containment during cleanup, releasing Silicon Tetrachloride (STC) /Trichlorosilane (TCS). REC personel monitored the cloud and detected no ground-level concentrations of chemicals from the release. The cloud has since dissipated. The facility all-clear siren has been sounded.
TCS/STC (trichlorosilane / silane tetrachloride) reacts with atmospheric moisture to form silicon dioxide and hydrochloric acid. They can be an irritant to the mucous membranes in the nose and throat.
A full investigation will be conducted.
For more information:
In the US; Sharon Palmerton, PIO, REC Silicon, + 1 509-760-6314
In Norway; Mikkel Tørud, VP & IRO + 47 976 99144
REC is a leading vertically integrated solar energy company. REC produces polysilicon, wafers,cells and modules for the solar industry, and silicon materials for the electronic industry. REC also engages in project development in selected PV segments. Founded in Norway in 1996, REC employs around 3,200 people globally with revenues of more than EUR 1.7 billion in 2011, approximately USD 2.4 billion.