Fluoride Action Network

Before it was Honeywell …

Source: Metropolis Planet (Kentucky) | By Planet Staff
Posted on February 10th, 2021
Location: United States, Illinois
Industry type: Nuclear Industry

The following Allied Corporation Metropolis Plant company background information is taken from the Massac County Illinois History Vol. 1 1987 book produced by the Massac County Historical Society.

In October 1955, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) permitted industry to enter the uranium hexafluoride (UF6) conversion business by inviting bids on a contract for the conversion of government-owned uranium ore concentrates. The award would be made on the basis if the lowest cost to the government with favorable consideration for bidders offering a unique process which would enhance nuclear technology.

In December 1956, the AEC announced that Allied Chemical was the successful bidder. The five-year contract was for the conversion of 4240 tons per year with the first delivery to be made in April 1959 and an option to renew by the AEC.

In early 1957, teams were assembled to conduct research in Allied’s headquarters of Morristown, New Jersey; to build and operate a pilot plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and to select a site in the Midwest suitable for the construction and operation of the manufacturing facility.

In August 1957, ground was broken a mile north of Metropolis on a 900-acre site. Allied Chemical Metropolis was completed in December 1958 with the first UF6 shipment delivered to the Atomic Energy Commission plant, located west of Paducah, Kentucky, within eight days of the contract’s April 1959 deadline.

Metropolis operated at increasing volumes and efficiencies throughout the five-year contract period with staff reaching 300 by 1964. Uncertain if the AEC contract would be renewed, Metropolis area residents mounted a concerted lobbying effort; however, the AEC shut down the plant after then-President Lyndon Johnson ordered a 25% reduction in the AEC budget. The work force was cut back to 37.

During the mid-1960s, the plant produced only sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), a gaseous dielectric used by the electrical utility industry. The UF6 facility was maintained in a manner that would permit effective start-up.

In 1968, Allied Chemical was back in business in Metropolis with a two-phase expansion due to the sudden rush of orders. By 1977, plant capacity was 28 million pounds per year.

The plant’s calcium fluoride recovery unit, which combines a solid and liquid waste to produce a usable product, opened in May 1982. It received national recognition in 1983 when Allied Corporation received the National Environmental Industry award from the President’s Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Industry Council.

In 1985, Allied merged with Signal Companies, adding to its aerospace, automotive and engineered materials business. By 1987, the Metropolis plant, then Allied-Signal, Inc., employed around 400.

In 1999, Honeywell was acquired by AlliedSignal, who elected to retain the Honeywell name for its brand recognition.

*Original article online at https://www.metropolisplanet.com/news/before-it-was-honeywell/article_ecb2639c-9085-5bce-a0c7-653d7bc5ccbe.html