Hugh Pickens writes "Federal News Radio reports that in Metropolis, Illinois, the nation's only site for refining uranium for eventual use in nuclear power plants, some 230 union workers locked out by the company since last June take turns picketing and warning of possible toxic releases into the community while they're not at their jobs. Even in better times, the plant has been a source of concern. In September 2003, toxic hydrogen fluoride was released in an accident. Three months later, seepage of mildly radioactive gas sent four people to the hospital and prompted the evacuation of nearby residents. Now a recent safety inspection by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission found that temporary workers brought in by Honeywell weren't properly trained and were cheating on tests, and that Honeywell had neglected to report liquids that were released into the air. Metropolis' troubles began last spring when efforts to negotiate a new contract broke down at the Honeywell plant. Honeywell opted not to let the union employees work without a contract, citing the lack of bargaining progress and what it called the union's refusal to agree to provide 24 hours of notice before any strike."
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