The parent company of the cleanup contractor at the U.S. Department of Energy desert site is selling its government contracting operations.
The Fluor Corporation announced in a news release last week that it was selling part of its business, a move which it said would improve the company’s finances and let it focus on core areas of its operations.
“The company is initiating plans to sell its construction equipment rental company and its government business, and to monetize surplus real estate and non-core investments,” the release said. “Fluor anticipates these actions to generate in excess of $1 billion in aggregate proceeds.”
Fluor Idaho has a $1.4 billion contract through mid-2021 to perform waste cleanup at the site. The contract was awarded in February 2016. Fluor also is part of several other DOE cleanup and national laboratory operations contracts, including at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, according to Weapons Complex Monitor, a news website that monitors developments in the industry.
Weapons Complex Monitor reported that the move wasn’t unexpected due to declining company revenues and stock prices. It also reported that the impact on the nuclear cleanup industry is unknown at present. Fluor is looking to sell its government and equipment businesses in 2020.
Spokespeople for Fluor Idaho and for the DOE in Idaho didn’t return calls by press time Wednesday. Idaho National Laboratory, which is managed by a different contractor, referred questions to Fluor.
However, Fluor is planning to keep NuScale Power, the company that is working with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems to build 12 small modular reactors at the desert site. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reviewing the reactors’ design now and the plan is to have them operational by the mid-2020s.
According to a presentation Fluor gave to investors, that review is ahead of schedule and on-track to be completed by the end of 2020. The presentation says no additional funding is expected to be needed for NuScale in 2019 due to new investments, and increased investor interest is expected to offset its 2020 funding needs.
Fluor said in the release announcing the planned changes that new investments awaiting regulatory approval from South-Korea based Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction and the Chicago-based power engineering company Sargent and Lundy are expected to fund NuScale’s activities for the rest of the year.