Pending Shutdown, Contamination Trouble DCX Foundry

Indy closing agreed in 2003 union contract

DaimlerChrysler AG’s Indianapolis foundry is the site of two critical developments:

The Associated Press reports the automaker will close the foundry by September 30, eliminating 881 jobs. DaimlerChrysler reportedly has notified the Indiana Department of Workforce Development of the coming closure, in compliance with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

When the automaker agreed with the United Auto Workers union on a four-year contract in 2003 it gained the option to close the Indianapolis foundry by the end of third-quarter 2005.

The foundry casts seven different models of iron V-6 and V-8 engines. It has been operated by Chrysler Corp., and later DaimlerChrysler, since 1946.

Also, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission is investigating several workers’ exposure to radiation thanks to a damaged nuclear gage. The gage measures molten metal levels in the pouring process, and apparently overheated during operations. It contained cesium contained in a double-walled steel capsule, and the NRC is investigating how the permanently mounted device came to be damaged on July 29. It was not reported to regulatory officials until August 10, and the commission inspectors performed their official review on August 11.

While the device’s shielding was damaged by heat, the radioactive material was not damaged. NRC inspectors are evaluating workers exposure and determining how to remove the gage, and replace it. A public report on the inspection is expected in about one month, according to NRC.

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