Hitachi Zosen is to buy used fuel management specialist NAC International from its current owner, USEC, in a $45 million deal that will provide the Japanese company with a platform to expand its operations in used fuel transportation and storage.
|Magnastor casks in use at the Palo Verde nuclear power plant (Image: NAC International)
Osaka-headquartered engineering company Hitachi Zosen, often referred to as Hitz, has over 30 years of experience in manufacturing nuclear fuel transport and storage casks and has fabricated dry cask storage and transportation systems for NAC since the 1980s. The company holds American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) N-stamp accreditation.
Hitachi Zosen president Minoru Furukawa expressed the company's "strong aspiration" to further develop its used fuel business in partnership with NAC. A company press release noted that the acquisition would enable Hitachi Zosen to offer a 'one stop' solution for used nuclear fuel storage and transportation and to develop this business globally.
"In the aftermath of events at Fukushima, there is a greater focus on spent fuel storage. Hitachi Zosen has been actively involved in NAC activities through fabrication work and is well positioned to further develop market opportunities for NAC’s innovative systems," USEC president and CEO John Welch explained.
USEC bought NAC International in 2004 for $16 million. Welch said that the decision to sell NAC formed part of the company's strategy to focus on its core uranium business and the deployment of its American Centrifuge Technology over the next several years. The centrifuge project has been dogged by problems with both technology and finance. The $45 million sale, which has been achieved through a competitive process, will benefit the company's balance sheet.
NAC president Ken Cole said the acquisition held great promise for his company's customers and employees. "We have a long-standing relationship with Hitachi Zosen and have a deep respect for its excellent operations," he said, adding that he expected the NAC organisation, which includes international nuclear fuel cycle consulting and information services as well as its storage and transport operations, to remain intact. The company's Magnastor dry-cask technology was the first high capacity multipurpose used fuel storage technology to receive certification from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The transaction is expected to close in March. As part of the deal, USEC will agree not to engage in competition with NAC for three years thereafter.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News