After meeting with the NRC on July 11, Honeywell committed that it will not restart production at the facility, which has been undergoing planned annual maintenance since May, until reaching agreement with the Commission on the necessary upgrade projects and timing.
The time line for the restarting of operations and the nature and timing of the upgrades has not been determined, and will be addressed in the discussions with the Commission. The Company does not anticipate that any suspension of operations or the cost of plant upgrades will have a negative impact on its previously issued earnings per share guidance range for 2012.
"If it is decided in coming weeks that Honeywell would have to complete the upgrades before restart, it would then mean that we would not restart production for 12 to 15 months and we would need to reduce the workforce by 50 percent. That decision has not been made yet and we hope to have more clarity soon," said Peter Dalpe, Honeywell spokesperson.
Completion of upgrades to the Metropolis Works facility could take approximately 12 to 15 months. The full-time workforce could be reduced by about 50 percent during this time period. The plant normally employs 332 employees when in full production. Hourly and salaried employees would both be affected.
Some affected employees may have an opportunity to apply for openings at other Honeywell locations. The plant would also reduce the number of contractors.
“Honeywell takes its commitment to safety seriously,” said Larry Smith, plant manager for the Metropolis Works facility. “We are continuing to discuss the necessary plant upgrades with the NRC, and we hope to quickly establish a definitive timetable.”
The NRC inspection of Metropolis Works 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. Prior to Fukushima, Honeywell initiated an Integrated Safety Analysis as part of its licensing process, and identified upgrades to the facility to withstand a major seismic event including seismic hardening of buildings and piping.
In May, the Metropolis Works facility received a clean bill of health when the NRC confirmed as part of its License and Performance Review that the plant was operating safely.
Honeywell has continued to make significant capital investments in the Metropolis Works operation, including nearly $70 million since 2006. More than $10 million has been spent on health, safety and environment projects.
ऀFirst opened in 1958, Honeywell Metropolis Works provides services to convert uranium oxide to uranium hexafluoride (UF6). This product is then further processed by other service providers into fuel for civilian nuclear powerplants.
Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; turbochargers; and performance materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell's shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.
This release contains certain statements that may be deemed “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, that address activities, events or developments that we or our management intends, expects, projects, believes or anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. Such statements are based upon certain assumptions and assessments made by our management in light of their experience and their perception of historical trends, current economic and industry conditions, expected future developments and other factors they believe to be appropriate. The forward-looking statements included in this release are also subject to a number of material risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to economic, competitive, governmental, and technological factors affecting our operations, markets, products, services and prices. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results, developments and business decisions may differ from those envisaged by such forward-looking statements.