METROPOLIS, Ill. — Honeywell officials are saying little about it and investigators are saying less, but a federal grand jury reportedly is probing apparent problems with hazardous waste storage at the company’s Metropolis Works Plant.
The industrial facility on the outskirts of Metropolis manufactures a line of fluorine products, including uranium hexafluoride, UF6, for nuclear fuel. It was in a required financial disclosure — a 10-K report to the Securities and Exchange Commission — that Honeywell divulged that storage of some byproducts of UF6 production is being examined by the U.S. Department of Justice to assess whether it meets federal environmental requirements.
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The Metropolis Works Plant (MTW) is owned by Honeywell and operated by Honeywell’s Specialty Materials division which deals in a variety of high-performance materials, including nylon, polyethylene, fluorine and electronic materials.
Honeywell-MTW manufactures a number of fluorine products including:
Uranium hexafluoride (UF6) for nuclear fuel
Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) for electric utilities
Iodine pentafluoride (IF5) and antimony pentafluoride (SbF5) for stain and water resistance
Located in Metropolis, Illinois, Honeywell-MTW began operation in 1958 to satisfy a contract with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Following completion of the contract, the facility was mothballed in 1964. The facility underwent rehabilitation in 1967 and has operated as a private converter since 1968.