US Honeywell International on 21 November announced another round of layoffs at its uranium hexafluoride (UF6) conversion facility in Metropolis, Illinois.
Honeywell is stopping production of UF6 at the site in the face of to worldwide oversupply. Demand has dwindled in Japan and Germany, especially since the Fukushima disaster in March 2011. Of the 200 full-time employees at the facility, 170 will be laid off.
Honeywell said “minimal operations” will be maintained for a restart if business conditions improve. The company cited analysis from Energy Resources International, which found that, since Fukushima, global demand for nuclear fuel has dropped 15%. It is not anticipated to rise before 2020.
This is not the first time in 2017 that Honeywell has announced layoffs. In January, 22 full-time employees and 44 of the plant’s contractor team lost their jobs, representing 18% of the company’s workforce.
The plant has been in a routine annual outage since October.