The upgrades are designed to meet post-Fukushima requirements from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that the facility be able to withstand extreme natural disasters such as strong earthquakes and tornados.
"We have completed the extensive scoping, planning and design work and the facility has begun construction activities related to the planned upgrades," said Larry Smith, plant manager for the facility. "This significant investment in the plant, in addition to the investments the company has made over the past five years, will help ensure the safe operation of the facility."
Based on the planning work done to date, the company anticipates recalling workers for certification and training on or before next April. As with any major capital project, the timing of any restart and worker recall could be adjusted based on the progress of the work as well as industry and market conditions.
Since July of this year, the company has been evaluating a series of upgrades to its Metropolis nuclear conversion facility following an NRC inspection that focused on preparedness for extreme natural disasters. The inspection was part of a comprehensive assessment the NRC conducted of all U.S. nuclear-related facilities in the wake of last year's Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Honeywell and the NRC reached an agreement earlier this month on proposed modifications required to ensure the facility would receive approval to resume production. Based on the parameters defined in that agreement, the facility completed the scoping, planning and design work it had begun in July.
The upgrade work includes seismic hardening of buildings and piping at the facility. Additionally, the facility will be upgrading its emergency planning and notification procedures as required by the NRC agreement.
First opened in 1958, Honeywell Metropolis Works provides services to convert uranium oxide to uranium hexafluoride (UF6). Other service providers into fuel for civilian nuclear power plants then further process this product. Honeywell is based in Morris Township, N.J. More information can be found at www.honeywell.com
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