PARIS French water and waste group Veolia (VIE.PA) said it bought U.S. nuclear waste clean-up company Kurion for $350 million as it chases a slice of a market seen worth $210 billion over the next 15 years.
Veolia said it expects the new business to contribute annual revenue of $350-400 million by 2020, including about $250 million from waste treatment and $100-150 from decommissioning nuclear installations.
Kurion, which was one of few international firms involved in the early stages of the clean-up of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, currently has annual sales of about $100 million. Veolia generates about $20 million from cleaning up nuclear waste.
"Bringing Kurion and its employees into Veolia is going to enable us to develop a world-class integrated offer in nuclear facility clean-up and treatment of low-level radioactive waste around the world," Veolia Chief Executive Antoine Frerot said.
Veolia plans to target the United States, Britain, France and Japan, which together amount to a market of $118 billion by 2030, and will focus on low-level radioactive waste, which represents 97 percent of the volume but just 0.1 percent of the radioactivity.
There are about 400 nuclear plants in operation worldwide, of which 100 to 150 will be decommissioned by 2030. Another 50 nuclear research centres will also have to be dismantled, Veolia said.
Frerot said Veolia would focus on concentrating the waste to reduce its volume so that it can be stored safely, mostly in glass.
Kurion was founded in 2008 and and now employs over 200 people. Veolia had total revenue of 23.88 billion euros ($26.05 billion) in 2014.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by James Regan)