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EnergySolutions Inc. has been awarded one of the first multimillion-dollar contracts for the cleanup of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.
The Salt Lake City-based nuclear waste company said Wednesday it has been selected by Toshiba Corp. to decontaminate the seawater used to cool the power plant's reactors as they were melting down after the devastating earthquake and tsunami a year ago.
"Just to give you an idea of the scope, we will be treating approximately 132,500 gallons of contaminated water per day, or in total the equivalent of 60 Olympic-sized swimming pools," Val Christensen, the Utah company's CEO, said in a conference call with industry analysts and investors.
Christensen said EnergySolutions will support Toshiba by designing and installing a system to decontaminate the water to safety levels demanded by the Japanese government. Toshiba was selected to oversee the cleanup effort by the nuclear power plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Although some media reports have placed the value of the Utah company's Fukushima contract at $27 million to $40 million, EnergySolutions spokesman Mark Walker would say only that it was worth "in the tens of millions of dollars."
Walker said EnergySolutions expects to have all the water decontaminated by the end of the year. But that isn't the only work at the Japanese power plant that EnergySolutions is hoping to undertake.
"We're anticipating that with this first contract we will be able to help Toshiba understand we have expertise in a lot of areas that could be useful to them," he said. "There is a lot of cleanup work there to do."
Matt Pacenza, of nuclear watchdog group HEAL Utah, said that although EnergySolutions may be proud about its involvement in the Fukushima cleanup, it is important to remember what a huge disaster occurred there. "I've seen some estimates of the damage as between $100 to $200 billion," he said.
Also on Wednesday, EnergySolutions released its financial results for its recently completed fourth quarter and 2011 fiscal year.
The company reported that it generated revenue of $1.8 billion for the year.
And although it reported a loss of $196.2 million, or $2.21 per share, that loss was the result of accounting adjustments that included the write down of good will, an asset retirement obligation and tax asset accounting adjustments. Absent those adjustments, EnergySolutions said it would have reported net income of $102.2 million, or $1.15 per share.
For the fourth quarter of 2011, EnergySolutions reported revenue of $468.5 million and a loss of $202.8 million, or $2.28 per share.
The same accounting adjustments that affected the company's year-end financial statement also had an influence on the fourth-quarter results. And absent those factors, EnergySolutions would have reported net income of $95.6 million, or $1.08 per share.
EnergySolutions shares closed Wednesday at $4.57, up 7 cents for the day, or 1.5 percent.