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Report: EnergySolutions looking at partial sale of company

Published June 8, 2012 8:06 pm

Radioactive waste • Utah disposal site not on the block, industry newsletter says.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A trade publication reported Friday that part of Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions Inc. might be up for sale. The RadWaste Monitor newsletter said a likely candidate for such a sale is the nuclear-waste company's government-projects group, though no final decision has been made.

The trade press article noted the sale probably would not include the company's 1-mile-square disposal site in Tooele County. The reasons: the long-term liability questions pertaining to the low-level radioactive waste buried there and, also, because the disposal is key to one of the company's biggest contracts, the 10-year, $1 billion cleanup of the Zion nuclear power plant site in Illinois.

"While EnergySolutions does not normally comment on rumors floating around the industry, we can say that EnergySolutions has not offered the government group for sale," said company spokesman Mark Walker in a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune and the newsletter.

The company's stock price has languished at around $3.40 per share recently, a fraction of the $23-per share price the stock fetched when it started public trading in 2007.

RadWaste Monitor noted in its report Friday that the company's government group revenue fell to $42.4 million in the first quarter of 2012, compared with $79.4 million in the first quarter of 2011. Meanwhile, the profits from the group fell to a loss of $5.1 million, compared with the year-earlier quarter.

The EnergySolutions landfill in Utah is one of four for radioactive waste in the nation. (The company also operates a site in Barnwell, S.C.) It has become the burial ground for more than 97 percent of all the low-level nuclear waste at commercial sites in the United States since the late 1980s.

In March, the company failed to persuade the U.S. Energy Department to reconsider awarding a 5-year, $121.2 million contract to clean up the Atlas uranium tailings pile to another company. EnergySolutions' earlier work on that $1 billion project had given the company bragging rights for removing millions of tons of contaminated tailings from the edge of the Colorado River outside of Moab.

fahys@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ judfutah