Japan’s Kobe Steel of Sweden’s Studsvik are to extend their existing cooperation by forming a joint venture to provide radioactive waste management solutions to the Japanese nuclear industry. Studsvik and Kobe Steel formed a business alliance in 2005 and have since been carrying out marketing and research on providing solutions for treating and disposing of radioactive waste in Japan.

The joint venture, Kobelco Studsvik (51% owned by Kobe Steel and 49% by Studsvik), will design, engineer and implement waste management solutions to the Japanese nuclear industry. It will undertake commissioned work and marketing for the overseas treatment and recycling of metals; treat metals, and design and license recycling facilities; and design and license high-level radioactive waste treatment processes.

Studsvik said the joint venture will "bring together Studsvik’s broad design and engineering experience in waste management, including its patented THOR technology for radioactive waste treatment, and metal recycling along with Kobe Steel’s industrial and delivery capability in Japan". Kobe Steel said it has over 30 years of experience in radioactive waste treatment and disposal, storage facilities, and transport and storage casks for used nuclear fuel.

Kobe Steel director and senior executive officer Shohei Manabe said, "One of the themes under our medium-term management plan to fiscal 2020 is to undertake further initiatives in the waste treatment business in connection with the decommissioning of nuclear plants. The enhanced synergy from the joint venture with Studsvik will be a sincere response to provide solutions for the treatment and disposal of radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear plants including the treatment and recycling of metals."

Earlier in April, Studsvik agreed to sell its waste treatment assets and facilities for metal recycling, incineration and pyrolysis near Nyköping in Sweden, as well as the metal recycling facility near Workington in the UK, to France’s EDF. The two companies also signed a cooperation agreement on nuclear decommissioning and radioactive waste management.