The Illinois Attorney General has ordered Honeywell International, Inc. to pay a $90,000 civil penalty following three releases of hydrogen fluoride at its Metropolis plant. The company is also required to complete a series of system upgrades in accordance with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
Honeywell Spokesman Peter Dalpe said the facility has already adopted the safety measures agreed to in the settlement including upgraded alarms and video monitoring sensors.
Dalpe said the leaks happened on December 28th, 2008, December 20th, 2010 and October 6th, 2011 and were below the state's reportable threshold. He said there were no injuries or impacts to the local community.
Honeywell produces uranium hexafluoride at the facility near Metropolis. Hexafluoride is used in manufacturing nuclear reactor fuel for military and industrial electric utilities. Hydrogen fluoride is a highly dangerous gas, forming corrosive hydrofluoric acid upon contact with tissue. The gas can also cause blindness by rapid destruction of the cornea.