Honeywell Uranium Hexafluoride Processing Facility

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Honeywell Uranium Hexafluoride Processing Facility, a uranium conversion facility, is located 3 km northwest of Metropolis, Illinois. The plant, Honeywell Specialty Chemicals in Metropolis, Illinois, has a nominal capacity of 15,000 tU uranium per year. The plant manufactures a variety of products, but about 80 percent of the plant's work involves refining raw uranium ore into uranium hexafluoride. Across the Ohio river in Paducah, Kentucky, the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, can enrich the uranium hexafluoride into various levels for nuclear power or nuclear weapon purposes.[1] ConverDyn, a general partnership between affiliates of Honeywell and General Atomics, is the exclusive agent for conversion sales from the Metropolis Works.

Incidents[edit]

Site Area Emergency declaration[edit]

December 22, 2003 - Site Area Emergency

At 0245 CST on 12/22/03, a small release of Uranium hexafluoride occurred lasting approximately 45 minutes. At 0300 CST the licensee declared a Site Area Emergency, indicating failure of systems design to prevent risk to the public. All personnel were evacuated within a 1 mile radius. About 25 people offsite were temporarily evacuated and some 75 persons remained sheltered for a time in their homes. Licensee notified State of Illinois. NRC was notified at 0400 CST.

The licensee terminated the Site Area Emergency at 0650 CST on 12/22/03.[2]

2010 Lockout of United Steelworkers local 7-669[edit]

Picket line in front of Honeywell Uranium Hexafluoride Processing Facility during 2010-2011 lockout

June 28, 2010 - Lockout

www.usw7-669.com

At the conclusion of regularly scheduled collective bargaining between Honeywell and United Steelworkers local 7-669, the largest resident union at the Metropolis facility, the company locked out union members when they refused to ratify a new agreement with several concessions. The Union continued to work for seven days without an agreement until the company initiated the lockout. The lockout lasted until August 1, 2011, when the union ratified a new three year collective bargaining agreement.[3]

2014 Lockout of United Steelworkers local 7-669[edit]

August 1, 2014 - Lockout

www.usw7-669.com

Honeywell again locked out the United Steelworkers local 7-669 after the 2011 collective bargaining agreement expired. Unlike the lockout in 2010, Honeywell Managers locked out the Union at midnight when the contract expired.[4]

2014 chemical leak[edit]

In October, 2014, uranium hexafluoride was accidentally released from the facility. Honeywell attributed the accident to an equipment failure, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission began an investigation of the plant to make sure safety procedures were followed. A plant news release quickly stated that no injuries occurred, and Honeywell reported that no nuclear material left the site.[5] But union representatives report that seven people suffered burns and seven to ten also suffered injuries.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Metropolis facility details from GlobalSecurity.org
  2. ^ Metropolis Site Area Emergency
  3. ^ Lech, Stephen. "www.usw7-669.com===Lockout of United Steelworkers local 7-669===".  [dead link]
  4. ^ Lech, Stephen. "www.usw7-669.com===Lockout of United Steelworkers local 7-669===".  [dead link]
  5. ^ Krauskopf, Lewis (October 28, 2014). "U.S. nuclear regulators probing leak at Honeywell uranium plant". Reuters. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  6. ^ Rutherford, Tony E. (October 30, 2014). "Reports Differ on Injuries at Metropolis Nuclear Plant Following Leakage of Uranium Hexafluoride". News Editor. Retrieved November 4, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°10′18″N 88°45′25″W / 37.171768°N 88.757039°W / 37.171768; -88.757039