NRC renews operating licence for Honeywell uranium conversion plant

27 March 2020

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has renewed the operating license for Honeywell International's uranium conversion facility in Metropolis, Illinois, for an additional 40 years.

The new licence expires in 2060, NRC said.

Honeywell submitted its licence renewal application in February 2017.

NRC staff concluded that renewing the licence would not pose an undue risk to public health and safety and would not significantly affect the quality of the environment.

The staff review focused on Honeywell’s decommissioning funding, the environmental effects of the facility for the duration of the licence, facility changes and safety basis, and the controls to monitor material degradation and ageing until the licence expires in 2060.

The findings are documented in an environmental assessment published in October 2019 and a final safety evaluation report, published in March 2020.
NRC said the Metropolis facility is currently in a “ready-idle” status with a reduced amount of material on site.

Honeywell suspended uranium hexafluoride production at its Metropolis plant in November 2017, idling 7000MTU of conversion capacity in the face of worldwide oversupply.

Metropolis is the only uranium hexafluoride conversion facility in the USA. The plant receives uranium oxide from mills and in situ recovery facilities and converts it to uranium hexafluoride, or UF6. The UF6 is subsequently enriched and fabricated into fuel assemblies for use in commercial reactors.


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