Local News

Crews Remove Overturned Tractor-Trailer Carrying Uranium on I-40

Posted December 21, 2006 11:07 p.m. EST
Updated December 22, 2006 7:36 a.m. EST

— Traffic is moving again on part of Interstate 40 in Johnston County after crews removed an overturned tractor-trailer carrying about 6,600 pounds of a low-grade powdered uranium.

According to the Highway Patrol, the accident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. when the driver lost control of the vehicle and overturned near the Interstate 40/95 interchange at exit 328.

Authorities had to shut down all eastbound lanes of I-40 while crews cleared the wreckage. The roadway reopened to traffic at around 3 a.m. Friday.

A fire marshal at the scene said a husband and his wife were driving the tractor-trailer, traveling from Virginia to the Global Nuclear Facility near Wilmington.

Emergency officials said the threat level was low because the uranium was packed securely in steel and the packaging was not breached. It also had foam and airbags inside.

Crews carefully loaded the container and its contents onto a different truck and continued to the facility.

Both people in the tractor-trailer suffered minor injuries. No other vehicles were involved.

Uranium is a radioactive chemical element. that is an important nuclear fuel. One pound of uranium yields as much energy as 3 million pounds of coal.