Upgrades to the physical plant would address findings from recent U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection focused on preparations for extreme natural disasters
MORRIS TOWNSHIP, July 11, 2012 -- Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced today that it is evaluating a series of upgrades to its Metropolis Works nuclear conversion facility following a recent U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection that focused on preparedness for extreme natural disasters such as strong earthquakes and tornados.
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.
After meeting with the NRC earlier today, 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 timeline 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.
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.”
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.
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