The Honeywell uranium fuel conversion plant in Metropolis, IL is still on track to restart work in June after a May shutdown to upgrade parts of plant. Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors prompted the shutdown when they found equipment there could not withstand a major earthquake or tornado.
Honeywell Spokesman Peter Dalpe says the plant currently has 188 employees, 84 of which are hourly union workers that are doing various jobs to prepare for restarting production.
The plant converts uranium ore into uranium hexafluoride (UF6). Honeywell says UF6 is an essential compound used to produce enriched uranium for use as fuel in nuclear power plants.
The plant laid off more than 200 employees at the time of the shutdown. Dalpe anticipates the NRC will provide authorization to begin production following a final inspection. Dalpe says employment levels at the plant will depend on demand for the fuel the plant produces.