DOJ Wins Stop To $367M Merger Of Radioactive Waste Firms; NRC suspends licensing proceeding on WCS CISF

A Delaware federal judge on Wednesday blocked the $367 million merger of EnergySolutions Inc. and Waste Control Specialists LLC, siding with the U.S. Department of Justice in the government's bid to enjoin the deal on antitrust grounds. [This story was broken by Law360 Environmental. The remainder of the article is behind a pay wall.]

WCS had hoped EnergySolutions -- its competitor in "low-level" radioactive waste dumping -- could take it over, which would allow for the resumption of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing proceedings on WCS's proposal to construct and operate a centralized interim storage facility (CISF) for 40,000 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel in Andrews County, TX. This court ruling appears to have dealt a severe blow to those plans.

By coincidence, the NRC Commissioners just affirmed their vote, at around 2pm Eastern on Thursday, June 22nd, to approve the combined request by WCS, NRC staff, and even opposing environmental groups (including Beyond Nuclear), to suspend the CISF licensing proceeding. See the NRC Commissioners' ruling, SEED Coalition's response to the court ruling, and news coverage: More.


Permanently closed U.S. nuclear reactor should be "autopsied" 

Beyond Nuclear is asking the U.S. Nuclear Regulator Commission (NRC) to verify that a pressure vessel head installed in the now closed Crystal River nuclear reactor in Florida came from the controversial Creusot Forge in France, currently under investigation. Beyond Nuclear is also recommending that the NRC seize this opportunity to "autopsy" the permanently closed Florida reactor. This would help to establish whether manufacturing flaws that have been found in components made by Le Creusot, could also be present in the 17 operating reactors identified by Areva that have installed Creusot-forged parts. Read the press release.


Most if not all new UK nuclear plants will never happen

A former investor in nuclear power plants predicts that every planned new UK nuclear power plant will get canceled except Hinkley C and even that one is hanging by a thread. In a Reuters article that appeared in the New York Times on June 19, Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive officer of energy supplier SSE, said he thought other companies, including Hitachi which plans to build two reactors in Wales, would likley back away now that Toshiba's nuclear division, Westinghouse, has gone bankrupt. And Hinkley, which is a French-designed EPR, rests its fate on the troubled EPR under construction at Flamanville in France, which is not only years behind and billions over budget but likely has a fatally flawed reactor pressure vessel. The reactor containment was forged at the now scandal-ridden Le Creusot forge owned by Areva and which is at the center of controversy around quality control fabrications and flawed safety-related components. More 


New South Korean president vows to end use of nuclear power

South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, appears to have learned the lessons of Fukushima in taking a firmly anti-nuclear stance in the early weeks of his office. Following in the footsteps of Japanese premier, Naoto Kan, who was in power at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster but is now firmly opposed to nuclear energy, Moon has vowed to scrap plans for new nuclear plants, will not extend the licenses of existing ones and will emphasize a renewable energy economy.

As reported by the Guardian.


Japanese nuclear firms are running for the exits

The collapse and bankruptcy of the Westinghouse electric company has already thrown its Japanese parent company, Toshiba into a financial downward spriral. Now another Japanese company, Hitachi, is looking to escape the extreme financial commitment to build two new nuclear plants in Wales by divesting itself of the local subsidiary that would build and operate them. The aptly name Horizon Nuclear Power consortium intends to build two reactors at the Wylfa B site in Wales, a project that looks to remain indefinitely on the horizon. Hitachi says if it can't offload Horizon by 2019, the theoretical construction start date, then it will suspend the project. Hitachi is seeking to avoid taking on the substantial financial risks that are now an automatic part of new nuclear construction ventures. Toshiba, meanwhile, will fork out $3.68 billion to keep its two AP-1000 reactors under construction in Georgia (pictured) afloat. The company has been trying to offload its lucrative computer chip business to save itself from financial fiasco. The company reported a $8.6 biillion loss for its fiscal year which ended in March. More.

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