Orano USA and US Waste Control Specialists (WCS) are to set up a joint venture to license a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for used nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas.
Orano USA (formerly Areva Nuclear Materials) is the US subsidiary of France’s Orano (formerly New Areva). The joint venture will ask the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to resume its review of the CISF licence application, which WCS originally submitted two years ago. Orano USA and WCS said the JV combines Orano's expertise in used nuclear fuel packaging, storage and transportation with WCS's experience operating a facility serving both the commercial nuclear industry and the US Department of Energy.
WCS says it is the only privately owned and operated US facility licensed to treat, store and dispose of Class A, B and C low-level radioactive waste (LLRW). It operates two separately licensed LLRW disposal facilities in Andrews, including the Texas Compact Disposal Facility. In April 2016, WCS applied to the NRC for a licence to construct and operate a CISF at the site.
In June 2017, a US court blocked EnergySolutions Inc's $367m acquisition of WCS, ruling in favour of an antitrust filing against the merger by the US Department of Justice. The Department had filed a suit in November 2016, alleging that the proposed acquisition would combine the two most significant competitors for LLRW disposal available to commercial customers. After a ten-day trial, the US District Court for the District of Delaware ruled in favour of the lawsuit.