The residents’ association Opponents Against Heavy Industry in Helguvík is opposing the Environment Agency of Iceland’s decision to permit the reopening of United Silicon’s plant, as reported by ruv.is. The factory is located on Reykjanes peninsula, near Keflavík, and has faced numerous issues since operations began. It was announced Friday that the plant would reopen May 21, one month after it was shut down due to a fire.
Representatives of United Silicon stated in a press release that the factory equipment has been repaired and is fit for use. The air quality both in and around the factory will be measured in the following weeks to determine whether it releases toxic substances and if so, to what extent. Though it takes up to three weeks for the factory to reach full performance and continuous operation, the furnace will be operated at various settings in order to obtain reliable measurements. Some odor is therefore expected from the factory in the near future.
Opponents of Heavy Industry in Helguvík said in a statement today that it is completely unacceptable for the building, considered to be only weatherproof according to construction regulations, to be opened as a fully completed silicon plant. They said that once the furnace is in operation, residents will once again be like guinea pigs due to the emissions, with their health at risk.