U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson of Delaware on June 21,2017 sided with the federal government in blocking a $367 million merger between EnergySolutions and the radioactive site’s parent company. Waste Control Specialists calls the deal essential for its long-term viability.The details of Robinson’s opinion were sealed.
The U.S. Department of Justice sued in November 2017 to block the merger of rival companies, arguing it would essentially create a monopoly on radioactive waste disposal. “Substantial evidence showed that head-to-head competition between EnergySolutions and Waste Control Specialists led to better disposal services at lower prices,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Andrew Finch of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division said in a statement. “Today’s decision protects competition in an industry that is incredibly difficult to enter.”…
Waste Control Specialists, which currently stores low-level radioactive waste in Andrews County*** has a pending application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store tens of thousands of metric tons of spent nuclear fuel currently filling up reactor sites across the country. The company has pitched the massive expansion as a solution to a problem that has bedeviled policymakers for decades….
“The WCS site is not a safe place to store deadly high-level radioactive waste,” Karen Hadden, executive director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, said in a statement. “Texans and those along transport routes shouldn’t have to suffer the health, safety, security, financial and environmental risks that transport and storage of the nation’s most dangerous radioactive waste would bring.”
Critics allege that millions in donations by Harold Simmons, owner of Waste Control Specialists, to Texas Governor Rick Perry and other politicians influenced political support for the controversial project…..Critics also cite WCS’ safety record. One 22-ton shipment of low-level radioactive material from a diffusion plant in Illinois failed to arrive at the WCS Andrews facility in late July 2001. Lost for almost a month, the material turned up dumped on a cattle ranch north of Dallas.
Excerpts from JIM MALEWITZ, Amid Texas nuclear waste site’s financial woes, judge blocks merger, The Texas Tribune, June 21, 2017 + Wikipedia
***The plant is located 5 miles east of Eunice, New Mexico, and 35 miles west of Andrews. The surrounding area on both sides of the state border, “nuclear alley”, also includes:
–the National Enrichment Facility (owned and operated by the Urenco Group) in Eunice
–the deep geological repository Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP; managed by the United States Department of Energy), and
–the proposed first commercial uranium de-conversion facility in the United States, a project of International Isotopes, Inc.