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After a year-long shut down for federally mandated upgrade issues, a southern Illinois plant that helps make nuclear fuel now has the approval to resume operations.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued the green light Tuesday to allow the Honeywell plant in Metropolis to again refine raw uranium ore into uranium hexafluoride that later ends up processed into fuel for commercial power reactors.

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The plant shut down in May 2012 after the commission ordered Honeywell to make the site able to withstand an earthquake or tornado. The plant also had to revise its emergency response plans for natural disasters.

The company has been hiring back workers, among other things to get them retrained.

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Honeywell expects full production to begin in the next week to 10 days.

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