dangers of nuclear, Honeywell, Honeywell International Inc., major hazard management, major hazards, nuclear energy, nuclear hazard, nuclear power, nuclear regulatory commission, nuclear risk, risk management, United Steelworkers, uranium, uranium fuel cycle, uranium hexafluoride, Yellowcake Uranium
In an August 18th letter to Honeywell CEO David Cote, the General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union points out:
“the facility converts milled uranium, known as yellowcake uranium, into uranium hexafluoride (UF6) that is used in nuclear fuel enrichment. The potentially dangerous process requires the experience and knowledge of the now locked out members of the United Steelworkers. During the last lock-out, there were two near-miss tragedies due to mishandling of dangerous chemicals, and management was cited by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for helping replacement scab workers to cheat on exams that ultimately allowed them to operate the facility.” Furthermore, the General Secretary suggests that: “your company would rather risk a nuclear accident than bargain in good faith with the United Steelworkers Local 7-669.”
(Emphasis added) Read the entire letter here: http://usw7-669.com/sites/usw7-669.com/files/industriall_global_union_letter_on_lock-out_at_honeywell_operation_in_metropolis_illinois_18-08-2014.pdf
According to the US NRC:
After the yellowcake is produced at the mill, the next step is conversion into pure uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas suitable for use in enrichment operations. During this conversion, impurities are removed and the uranium is combined with fluorine to create the UF6 gas. The UF6 is then pressurized and cooled to a liquid. In its liquid state it is drained into 14-ton cylinders where it solidifies after cooling for approximately five days. The UF6 cyclinder, in the solid form, is then shipped to an enrichment plant. UF6 is the only uranium compound that exists as a gas at a suitable temperature.
One conversion plant is operating in the United States: Honeywell International Inc. (Docket No. 40-3392) in Metropolis, Illinois. Canada, France, United Kingdom, China, and Russia also have conversion plants.
As with mining and milling, the primary risks associated with conversion are chemical and radiological. Strong acids and alkalis are used in the conversion process, which involves converting the yellowcake (uranium oxide) powder to very soluble forms, leading to possible inhalation of uranium. In addition, conversion produces extremely corrosive chemicals that could cause fire and explosion hazards. Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, May 21, 2013” (Emphasis added) http://www.nrc. gov/materials/fuel-cycle-fac/ur-conversion.html
The USW local says:
“We Won’t Let Honeywell Put Profits Before Worker Safety
The USW local 7-669 has about 150 members at the Honeywell Plant in Metropolis, IL. Our plant processes uranium and we work around many extremely dangerous and deadly chemicals. Together, with the support of our community, we have the strength in numbers to stand up against their unconscionable corporate greed. We have no fear of raising ALL safety issues with Honeywell, OSHA, NRC, and the EPA. This helps the plant runs as safely as possible while protecting our members from unfair treatment. We are the guardians of safety.” (Emphasis Added) http://usw7-669.com
David Cote has been CEO of Honeywell since 2002. Though a Republican, he is said to be close to President Obama. Obama selected him to be on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, advising on the US debt. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_M._Cote
Cote was recently elected to the New York Federal Reserve’s Board of Directors. http://www.newyorkfed. org/newsevents/news/aboutthefed/2014/oa140307.html
Obama was a top recipient of Honeywell largesse, having received $93,496 in campaign donations from Honeywell (including employees, their family members, and its PAC). http://influenceexplorer.com/organization/honeywell-international/2d625ce311ff4aa091ae66f440c2a62f
For more on Honeywell campaign donations and members of the US Congress who own Honeywell stock, see: http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000334
Honeywell is one of the contractors at the Savannah River Site, as part of the “Savannah River Nuclear Solutions” consortium: http://www.srs. gov/general/news/factsheets/srs.pdf