UK engineering consultancy company Atkins has announced plans to acquire the nuclear services division of US-based EnergySolutions for $318m to increase its capabilities in nuclear decommissioning. This follows the acquisition of Nuclear Safety Associates last year, to support governments and energy companies that decide to decommission their nuclear projects.

"Energy is the field where we have been most active. It is a great follow up on the success we had on expanding our nuclear business," SEO Uwe Krueger told Reuters.

Krueger said the acquisition would enable the company to bid for larger contracts in the USA as well as gain a footprint in mainland China and Japan. He also said the business would help the group in new markets such as Germany and Switzerland, which plan to decommission their nuclear projects in the coming years..

EnergySolutions said Atkins will buy its its Projects, Products and Technology division, which comprises EnergySolutions’ North American government, Europe, and Asia businesses. Atkins will hire approximately 650 EnergySolutions employees under the agreement. EnergySolutions will retain its logistics, processing and disposal business, its reactor decommissioning business, including current projects at the Zion nuclear plant in Illinois, the LaCrosse nuclear plant in Wisconsin, and its North American utility services, including liquid waste processing, fuel pool services, and other commercial projects.

"This transaction positions EnergySolutions to better serve the North American utilities market and pursue the growth opportunities in the decommissioning marketplace," said David Lockwood, President and CEO of EnergySolutions. "Focusing on transportation, logistics, processing and disposal enables EnergySolutions to better meet the waste disposition needs for the US Department of Energy, US Navy and commercial nuclear facilities," added Lockwood.