Envirocare of Utah's owners have bought a British government radioactive waste cleanup company and are merging it with Envirocare and another of its divisions to form a new corporation, one that may even come up with technology to reprocess spent nuclear fuel rods.

If reprocessing technology is developed, as company president Steve Creamer believes it will be, it will make the need for high-level waste storage facilities like the proposed Private Fuel Storage site in Utah unnecessary.

That may be far in the future. Meanwhile, the new entity, EnergySolutions, which is based in Salt Lake City, is continuing many cleanup and waste management projects.

The Times of London reported in its Friday online edition that the purchase price for the British company BNG America was $90 million.

The new corporation, of which the former BNG America will be one part, is called EnergySolutions. Also making up EnergySolutions are the Envirocare and Scientech D&D Division, which Envirocare acquired in October 2005.

EnergySolutions, to be headquartered in Salt Lake City, is owned by a private equity group led by Lindsay, Goldberg & Bessemer, Peterson Partners and Creamer Investments, a press release from the new company says.

As of today, Envirocare and Scientech D&D are operating under the EnergySolutions name. "BNG America, upon completion of the transaction in the next few weeks, will also be operating as EnergySolutions," a company press release says.

BNG is involved in a Department of Energy project to test technologies for reprocessing or recycling of spent nuclear fuel, based at the DOE site at Savannah River, S.C.

In the release, Creamer is quoted as saying, "EnergySolutions looks forward to working with the government and industry to help provide the technology and expertise to help make recycling of spent fuel a reality in the United States."

Currently, federal law calls for disposal of highly radioactive fuel rods at the stalled Yucca Mountain, Nev., repository. The proposed PFS facility in Skull Valley, Tooele County, has been seen as a temporary storage solution. But if fuel rod reprocessing is developed, that could obviate the need for either plant.

As a national company, the 1,000-plus employees of EnergySolutions will work in 14 states. Utah would be the headquarters, not a site for reprocessing waste or for working on decommissioning old nuclear facilities.

Currently headquartered in Arlington, Va., BNG America manages the solid waste program at the DOE's Savannah River Site, says the BNG America Web site.

Since 1991, the company has managed projects at DOE sites, national laboratories, nuclear fuel plants, utilities and industrial sites across the country, it adds.

According to the company's Internet posting, BNG America already has a presence in Utah: helping operate Western Zirconium, located west of Ogden.

In 2001, Western Zirconium, which manufactures coatings for fuel rods, received the Legislature's permission to ship low-level radioactive waste to Envirocare.

BNG America provided project management and technical support for an environmental compliance review that was "expected to improve liquid effluent handling facilities" at Western Zirconium, the BNG America Web site says.

Other BNG America projects include work at the Hanford Site, Washington; Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee; Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho; Savannah River Site, South Carolina; Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site, Colorado; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California; Mound Closure Site, Ohio; West Valley Demonstration Project, New York; Big Rock Point, Michigan; and Hematite D&D Project, Missouri.

Scientech's Decontamination and Decommissioning Division, the second company in the group, was acquired by Envirocare of Utah in October 2005. The division manages the decommissioning of sites nationwide for government agencies, education facilities and commercial projects, according to Envirocare.

Scientech D&D, based in New Milford, Conn., "offers a variety of services ranging from initial consultation to project management and execution of facility decontamination and decommissioning projects," Envirocare said at the time of the acquisition.

Envirocare's low-level radioactive waste disposal site near the railroad siding called Clive, Tooele County, would not be affected by the acquisition, although the name has changed. The release says the site will continue to "only take low-level Class A waste, as permitted by Utah's Department of Environmental Quality.

"No higher levels of radioactive waste will be handled or managed in the state of Utah."

E-mail: bau@desnews.com