North American Member News June 2023


12 July 2023


Eileen Supko

Event at Honeywell Uranium Conversion Facility

Honeywell’s Metropolis Works uranium conversion facility is in the process of restarting production of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) after several years in a ready-idle configuration.

In June, while workers were filling a cylinder with UF6, a leak of material was visually detected by workers. According to the event report filed by Honeywell with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a remotely operated valve closing mechanism failed to close a UF6 cylinder value. Operators closed the cylinder valve manually.

Honeywell reported the event as required by the NRC and suspended all UF6 cylinder filling while the incident is being investigated. The NRC began a special inspection of the facility on June 28, which will focus on how Honeywell inspects and maintains the safety controls associated with its cylinder-filling operations. The inspection will also include a review of the facts surrounding the event, the company’s response, and the corrective actions taken to prevent a similar safety equipment failure.

The nuclear fuel cycle industry has been anxiously awaiting the return of Metropolis Works to production of UF6 as the current UF6 production capacity is significantly lower than annual UF6 requirements. Metropolis Works had been scheduled to return to service in the second quarter of 2023.

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