updated 7/16/2008 2:29:06 PM ET 2008-07-16T18:29:06

Workers were evacuated from a former uranium enrichment plant in Tennessee after yellow smoke was seen coming out of a ventilation stack.

About 45 employees at Materials and Energy Corp. in Oak Ridge evacuated Monday morning after the plume of smoke was released.

U.S. Department of Energy spokesman Walter Perry says the smoke was reported about 8:30 a.m. at a building that processes metal and chemical waste in Oak Ridge, about 20 miles west of Knoxville.

The U.S. Department of Energy said the smoke was caused by a chemical reaction that is a normal part of the company's work and there was no danger to the public.

Firefighters found there was no chemical contamination inside or outside. Workers in surrounding buildings were free to leave after being ordered to stay inside.

The former K-25 plant, where uranium for the first atomic bomb was processed, is being converted to an industrial park.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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