Following a uranium hexafluoride leak Sunday night at the Metropolis, Illinois Honeywell facility, United Steelworkers Local 7-669 officials allege the incident stems from equipment improperly installed by outside contractors, work they say was previously done in-house by their members.
USW spokesman John Paul Smith also alleges the release of uranium hexafluoride, or UF 6, was more widespread than reported. Honeywell’s Peter Dalpe says the incident was the result of equipment failure, but that it had been correctly installed.
He adds that while the equipment in question was put in by outside contractors, it was work that had never been done by USW workers. Local 7-669 President Steven Lech has posted videos shot during the incident that appear to show a mist drifting beyond the facility that he says could be hazardous gas. Dalpe says the mist is spray from the plant’s water mitigation system, which he says was functioning properly. Dalpe also says sensors in the facility only detected UF 6 inside the production building where the leak occurred and that none of the material left that location.