Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When nuclear power stations are decommissioned, the radioactive parts and radioactive rubble must go someplace. Other than putting radioactive waste in regular landfills, which they do some places, it’s hard to think of a much cheaper way to dispose of radioactive waste than this. (Faux-environmentalists don’t care where it goes, as long as it’s not in their immediate backyard.)
Rad Waste Barrels WCS Texas
WCS Rad Waste Dump Birds Eye View (Texas)
According to the New York Times, Jan. 21, 2014, WCS in Texas is charging as much as $10,000 per cubic ft to bury so-called low level radioactive waste, which isn’t really low level at all. It includes radionuclides, such as plutonium, which are deadly for thousands and even millions of years. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/the-desire-of-the-nuclear-industry-to-bury-nuclear-waste-deadly-rip-off-comment-deadline-this-fri-24-jul-at-11-59-pm-dc-nyc-et/
And yet, currently WCS is at least $77 million in debt.

Valhi is the parent company of Waste Control Specialists (WCS) which buries radioactive waste in Andrews County, West Texas, not very far from where former President George Bush, Jr. childhood home in Midland Texas. Valhi stock is worth less than two dollars. EnergySolutions wants to buy WCS. This appears in violation of US Anti-Trust laws, if anyone cares to notice. EnergySolutions is run and probably owned by former Goldman Sachs Investment Bankers (e.g. Doug Kimmelman, Sr. Partner of Energy Capital Partnerhips and David Lockwood, CEO of EnergySolutions). Energy Capital Partnerships owns EnergySolutions via Rockwell Holdco, Inc. So is WCS a good investment? Do we really want investment bankers dealing in radioactive waste?

EnergySolutions Clive Radioactive Waste Dump in Utah
Clive Utah zoom in variety waste

On November 18, 2015, Andrews County Holdings, Inc. (“ACH”), a subsidiary of the registrant, entered into a Purchase Agreement (the “Purchase Agreement”) with Rockwell Holdco, Inc. (“Rockwell”), for the sale of Waste Control Specialists LLC (“WCS”), a subsidiary of ACH, to Rockwell. Rockwell is the parent company of EnergySolutions, Inc., and Rockwell is owned by Energy Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing in North America’s energy infrastructure. Pursuant to the terms of the Purchase Agreement, ACH has agreed to sell its 100% membership interest in WCS to Rockwell for consideration at closing consisting of $270 million in cash, $20 million face amount in Series A Preferred Stock of Rockwell plus the assumption of approximately $77 million in indebtedness of WCS. Additionally, Rockwell and its affiliates will assume all financial assurance obligations related to the WCS business. The proceeds from the sale would be available for the registrant’s general corporate purposes. Completion of the sale is subject to certain customary closing conditions, including the receipt of U.S. anti-trust approval, and is expected to close in the first half of 2016, assuming all closing conditions are satisfied. There can be no assurance that any such sale of WCS would be completed.” [Notice that they call anti-trust approval a “customary closing condition” as though it is without teeth or importance.] “UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Washington, D.C. 20549 FORM 8-K CURRENT REPORT Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Date of report (date of earliest event reported): November 18, 2015 VALHI, INC. (Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter…

From “VALHI FIRST QUARTER 2016 RESULTS” at the SEC:
VALHI FIRST QUARTER 2016 RESULTS SEC
VALHI REPORTS FIRST QUARTER 2016 RESULTS DALLAS, TEXAS . . May 9, 2016.  Valhi, Inc. (NYSE: VHI) reported a net loss attributable to Valhi stockholders of $19.5 million, or $.06 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2016 compared to net income attributable to Valhi stockholders of $11.9 million, or $.04 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2015.   Changes in reported net income (loss) attributable to Valhi stockholders are primarily due to changes in operating results in the Company’s Chemicals and Waste Management Segments.
[…]
The Waste Management Segment’s net sales decreased by $9.8 million in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period of 2015.  Disposal volumes for the first quarter of 2016 were negatively impacted by a general industry wide slowdown in shipments of waste for disposal. In addition we benefited from a one-time disposal campaign related to the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant which contributed $4.0 million of revenue in the first three months of 2015.  Lower disposal volumes in the first quarter of 2016 resulted in lower coverage of fixed costs as compared to the same period of 2015. As a result, our Waste Management Segment had a significantly higher operating loss in the first quarter of 2016 than the same period of 2015.” Read more here: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/59255/000005925516000180/earningsrel1q16.htm
According to the Reuters stock profile for Valhi, as of May 13, 2016, the stock was worth only $1.88, i.e. less than two dollars. Reuters states that Valhi’s “Waste Management segment operates through WCS. WCS operates a West Texas facility for the processing, treatment, storage and disposal of a range of low-level radioactive, hazardous, toxic and other wastes.https://web.archive.org/web/20160514191110/http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/companyProfile?symbol=VHI

Waste Control Solutions (WCS) in west Texas provides an estimated 155 jobs burying nuclear waste, which may endanger important aquifers. The nearby vacuum cleaner company provides around 200 jobs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrews,_Texas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_Control_Specialists WIPP which is a slightly more proper nuclear waste facility provides around 1000 jobs at taxpayer expense. WCS has recently applied for a permit to park casks of spent nuclear fuel on an uncovered concrete pad in a so-called “interim storage facility” but it is really a nuclear waste parking lot.

It would be interesting to know where the 2015 waste from a decommissioning nuclear power station came from. The waste in question may be from Zion Nuclear Power Station: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion_Nuclear_Power_Station
ZionSolutions is using a rip and ship process that will reduce the labor intensive separation of contaminated materials and transport the facility in bulk to the EnergySolutions disposal site in Utah and to WCS in Texas. Completion of fuel transfer to the ISFSI was completed in January 2015. Submittal of the LTP occurred in December 2014, and an NRC LTP public meeting was held in April 2015. License termination is slated for 2020.http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/decommissioning/power-reactor/zion-nuclear-power-station-units-1-2.html

Regarding the long shuttered Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Station, which is very, very small (around 1/15th to 1/20th the size of most nuclear reactors) and didn’t stay open for long due to earthquake concerns:
5. Solid Radioactive Waste Management and Transportation of Radioactive Materials
5.1 Inspection Scope
The inspector reviewed documentation associated with shipments of material to their respective burial sites. The shipments included solid waste shipments by truck of exempt material to a site approved for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in Idaho, low specific activity solid waste shipment to a Utah burial site approved for low specific activity radioactive waste, and shipments utilizing a combination of truck and rail transport of low specific activity waste to Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in Texas.

[…]
Beginning on September 2, 2015, the licensee began a trial program to evaluate the acceptability of shipping to an additional burial site. Specifically, shipments of low specific activity material to Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in Andrews, Texas. For each shipment to WCS, a total of 5 truck shipments are sent from Humboldt Bay to Redding, California, to a rail yard. At that point, the 5 truck loads are consolidated into a rail car and one shipment is made from Redding to the WCS site in Texas. Proper transportation and waste classification documentation accompanied the shipments from Redding, California, to the WCS burial site near Andrews, Texas.

From January 1, 2015, through October 26, 2015, the licensee made a total of 744 shipments to the various burial sites with a total volume of 288,971 cubic feet. Of the 744 shipments made, 645 shipments went to the US Ecology site in Idaho, 58 shipments were sent to the Energy Solutions site in Utah and 14 shipments were directed to the WCS site in Texas….
The inspector reviewed documentation associated with shipments of material to their respective burial sites. The shipments included solid waste shipments by truck of exempt material to a site approved for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in Idaho, low specific activity solid waste shipment to a Utah burial site approved for low specific activity radioactive waste, and shipments utilizing a combination of truck and rail transport of low specific activity waste to Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in Texas. The review included documentation required by Department of Transportation regulations, and documentation of waste classification required by 10 CFR Part 20. The inspectors also verified that the licensee had the required import and export licenses for shipment and acceptance of the material.
http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1535/ML15351A464.pdf
Although this says it is exempt waste, surprisingly the US Ecology site in Idaho has taken so-called low level radioactive waste, at least up until recently. Home to a major US Nuclear Lab (INL), shameless promoter of nuclear power at all costs, Idaho shockingly obtained an agreement in 1995 to rid itself of nuclear waste. However, this appears to apply only to transuranic and spent fuel. And, the US Ecology site is in southwestern Idaho near Grand View and far away from the Mormon Corridor, home to Idaho Nuclear Lab (INL) and Mormon Senator Crapo. Idaho Falls, home to Senator Crapo, has almost as many Mormons as Salt Lake City.

The Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant is a 63 MWe boiling water reactor, owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company that operated from August 1963 to July 1976 just south of Eureka, California.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_Bay_Nuclear_Power_PlantAs of December 1, 2015, there were 99 operating nuclear reactors at 61 nuclear power plants in the United States. The Fort Calhoun plant in Nebraska has one reactor with the smallest generating capacity1 of 479 megawatts (MW). The Palo Verde plant in Arizona has three reactors and has the largest combined generating capacity1 of about 3,937 MW.
The amount of electricity that a nuclear reactor or power plant generates depends on the amount of time it operates at a specific capacity. For example, if the Fort Calhoun reactor operates at 479 MW capacity for 24 hours, it will generate 11,496 megawatthours (MWh). Most power plants do not operate a full capacity every hour of every day of the year. 1Net summer capacity
http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=104&t=3

On May 24, 2013, Rockwell Holdco, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Parent”), which was formed by Energy Capital Partners II, LP and its parallel funds, completed its previously announced acquisition of EnergySolutions, Inc., a Delaware corporation (the “Company”), pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”), dated as of January 7, 2013, as amended on April 5, 2013, by and among Parent, the Company, and Rockwell Acquisition Corp., a Delaware corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of Parent (“Merger Sub”). Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, Merger Sub merged with and into the Company (the “Merger”), with the Company surviving the Merger as a wholly owned subsidiary of Parent.
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1393744/000110465913045651/a13-14049_18k.htm

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Washington, D.C. 20549 FORM 8-K CURRENT REPORT Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Date of report (date of earliest event reported): November 18, 2015 VALHI, INC. (Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/http://services.corporate-ir.net/SEC/Document.Service?id=P3VybD1hSFIwY0RvdkwyRndhUzUwWlc1cmQybDZZWEprTG1OdmJTOWtiM2R1Ykc5aFpDNXdhSEEvWVdOMGFXOXVQVkJFUmlacGNHRm5aVDB4TURVNE9EZzRNaVp6ZFdKemFXUTlOVGM9JnR5cGU9MiZmbj1WYWxoaV84S18yMDE1MTExOS5wZGY=