Honeywell, NRC reach agreement on upgrades - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Honeywell, NRC reach agreement on upgrades

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Honeywell and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reached an agreement on the necessary upgrade to the company's Metropolis nuclear conversion facility.

The upgrades would ensure it could withstand extreme natural disasters such as strong earthquakes and tornados. Honeywell estimates those upgrades could take nine to 12 months.

The facility announced in July that it would evaluate a series of upgrades to its Metropolis Works nuclear conversion facility following an NRC inspection that focused on preparedness for extreme natural disasters.

Honeywell announced in July that it would not restart production at the facility until reaching agreement with the Commission on the necessary upgrade projects and timing.

More than 200 workers were laid off as a result of that inspection. 

In July, Honeywell officials estimated the upgrades could take from 12 months to 15 months to complete.

Of the more than 200 people who lost their jobs, more than half had just gotten back to work after the lockout ended last year.

The NRC inspection was part of a comprehensive assessment it is conducting of all U.S. nuclear-related facilities in the wake of last year's Fukushima disaster in Japan.

The company and NRC have been discussing the required modifications since July. An agreement was announced week. The NRC issued a Confirmatory Order in which it decided not to issue any Notice of Violations or civil penalties against the facility as a result of the inspection.

The facility will continue its scoping, planning and design work. Honeywell officials now estimate completion of the updates to take nine to 12 months. However, an exact timeline for a restart of operations has not been determined.

Honeywell Metropolis Works provides services to convert uranium oxide to uranium hexafluoride (UF6). It first opened in 1958. The uranium hexafluoride product is then further processed by other service providers into fuel for civilian nuclear powerplants.

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