French water and waste group Veolia has bought Californian nuclear waste company Kurion for $350m in a bid to become a one-stop shop for nuclear clean-up services.
According to Reuters, the company plans to target the US, Britain, France and Japan, which together will amount to a market worth $118bn by 2030.
Bringing Kurion and its employees into Veolia is going to enable us to develop a world-class integrated offer in the clean-up and treatment of low-level radioactive waste around the world– Antoine Frérot, Veolia chairman
Veolia said it expects the new business to contribute up to $400m a year by 2020, including about $250m from waste treatment and $150m from decommissioning nuclear installations.
The focus will be on low-level radioactive waste, which makes up 97% of the volume of contaminated material. Veolia plans to compress this before vitrifying it, thereby simplifying the problem of storage.
Antoine Frérot, the chairman and chief executive of Veolia, said: "Bringing Kurion and its employees into Veolia is going to enable us to develop a world-class integrated offer in the clean-up and treatment of low-level radioactive waste around the world.
"By having all the expertise and solutions that are indispensable for the treatment of this type of waste, our company is confirming that it is what it has always been: a pioneer in the treatment and recovery of waste and resources."
The acquisition completes Veolia’s move into nuclear disposal that began in 2013 when it signed a collaboration agreement with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission and formed Asteralis, a subsidiary specialising in identifying waste and assessing nuclear facilities.
The firm released a diagram to explain how its subsidiaries would combine to offer an integrated service to nuclear plants.
Kurion, which was founded in 2008, specialises in the separation and stabilisation of waste, and the use of robotics for access to contaminated areas. It is the only international operator to be working at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on behalf of Tepco, the Japanese nuclear operator. It employs over 200 people.
Top photograph: William Gallo (left) the chief executive of Kurion with Veolia’s Antoine Frérot (Veolia)