The nuclear industry continues to experience significant challenges and is currently oversupplied with UF6 worldwide. In particular, the decrease in demand in Japan and Germany following the Fukushima disaster has had a significant impact on the industry and continues to create an over-supplied market for the uranium fuel cycle, and a downward trend in the uranium markets. According to analysis from Energy Resource International, since Fukushima, global demand for nuclear fuel has dropped 15 percent, with demand not anticipated to rise before 2020.
As a result of this business outlook, Honeywell plans to temporarily idle production of UF6 at its Metropolis site, while maintaining minimal operations to support a future restart should business conditions improve. Because of this, the company intends to reduce the full-time workforce at the plant by 170 positions, as well as a number of contractor positions. Honeywell intends to restart once business conditions improve and will keep the plant in a state of readiness and continue to support minimal on-site operations to ensure a successful restart.