Department of Justice Files Civil Antitrust Lawsuit to Block Proposed EnergySolutions’ Acquisition of Waste Control Specialists

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that it has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the proposed $367 million acquisition of Waste Control Specialists LLC by EnergySolutions.  The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on November 16, 2016.

According to DOJ’s press release, the proposed transaction “would combine the two most significant competitors for the disposal of low level radioactive waste … available to commercial customers in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.”

DOJ argues that the proposed transaction “would deny commercial generators of … [low-level radioactive waste] – from universities and hospitals working on life-saving treatments to nuclear facilities producing 20 percent of the electricity in the United States – the benefits of vigorous competition that has led to significantly lower prices, better service and innovation in recent years.”

“Since opening its … [low-level radioactive waste] disposal facility in 2012, Waste Control Specialists has provided EnergySolutions the only real competition it has ever faced,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division.  “This competition has allowed customers to extract better prices and to receive better and more innovative service in the … [low-level radioactive waste] disposal industry.  If consummated, EnergySolutions’ proposed acquisition of Waste Control Specialists would make EnergySolutions the only option for customers in nearly 40 states.  And this at a time when projects worth billions of dollars are set to be awarded in the coming years.”

DOJ’s press release asserts that Waste Control Specialists provides the “only true competition” for EnergySolutions.  “That competition has led to increased innovation and lower prices for customers,” contends DOJ.  “EnergySolutions’ acquisition of Waste Control Specialists would eliminate that competition, with no likelihood of new entry to fill the void.”

Low-level radioactive waste is the radioactive byproduct of nuclear power generation, scientific research and certain medical treatments.  Low-level radioactive waste includes such items as personal protective clothing, tools, water purification filters and resins, hardware from nuclear power plants, and equipment from medical and research institutions.  Low-level radioactive waste may only be disposed of in a facility licensed by, or pursuant to an exemption provided by, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) or a state acting under an agreement with the NRC.  Low-level radioactive waste disposal is an essential service for operating nuclear reactors, research laboratories and medical facilities.  Additionally, low-level radioactive waste disposal is a requirement for the safe decommissioning of such facilities when they reach the end of their useful lives.

EnergySolutions offers customers a full range of integrated services and solutions, including nuclear operations, characterization, decommissioning, decontamination, site closure, transportation, nuclear materials management, processing, recycling, and disposition of nuclear waste, and research and engineering services across the nuclear fuel cycle.

Waste Control Specialists operates a West Texas facility for the processing, treatment, storage and disposal of a broad range of low-level radioactive and hazardous wastes.

For additional information about EnergySolutions, please contact Dan Shrum at (801) 649-2000 or at or go to the company’s web site at  For additional information about WCS, please contact Rodney Baltzer at (972) 450-4235 or at or visit the company’s web site at  For additional information about the proposed acquisition, please contact Mark Walker at or at (801) 231-9194.

ACRS Subcommittee Discusses Proposed Part 61 Final Rule

The Subcommittee on Radiation Protection and Nuclear Materials of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) met from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on October 18, 2016.  The meeting, which was open to the public, was held in Room T–2B3 of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.

The Subcommittee discussed the proposed final rule 10 CFR Part 61, ‘‘Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal’’ and associated guidance.  The Subcommittee heard presentations by and held discussions with the NRC staff and other interested persons regarding this matter.  The Subcommittee gathered information, analyzed relevant issues and facts, and formulated proposed positions and actions, as appropriate, for deliberation by the full Committee.

During the meeting, the subcommittee requested that the NRC make publicly available the agency’s draft final Part 61 guidance document (Guidance for Conducting Technical Analyses for 10 CFR Part 61) to support a public meeting with the full ACRS that is scheduled for November 3, 2016.

Accordingly, NRC staff has made the draft document publicly available in ADAMS (Accession No. ML14357A072).  In addition, NRC staff has made a redline/strikeout version of the draft final rule language available in ADAMS (Accession No. ML16293A112).

In releasing the documents, NRC stresses that the comment period on this rulemaking is closed and that the staff is not soliciting comments on the draft final guidance and the draft final rule language. The draft final rule language is with the Commission for their review.

The proposed final Part 61 final rule and associated documents are available on the NRC website at  For additional information regarding the proposed final Part 61 rule, please see related story in this issue.

For additional information on the ACRS meeting, please see 81 Federal Register 68,474 (October 4, 2016).  Detailed meeting agendas and meeting transcripts are available on the NRC web site at