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Fluor Unit Expands Nuclear Role : Industry: A subsidiary of the Irvine firm takes over a contract to manage the defunct Rocky Flats arms plant near Denver.

August 27, 1994|DON LEE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

IRVINE — Seeking to expand in the fast-growing nuclear decontamination business, Fluor Daniel Inc. said Friday it has signed an agreement to take over the remaining 15 months of a federal contract to manage the defunct Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant near Denver.

Fluor Daniel, a subsidiary of Irvine-based Fluor Corp., the giant construction and engineering company, said its letter of intent is to acquire the contract from EG&G Inc., a Wellesley, Mass., firm that has been managing and operating the Rocky Flats facility for the Department of Energy since 1990.

The Rocky Flats plant no longer produces plutonium or other weapons components, so Fluor would continue the work leading to the clean-up and deactivation of the facility. The agreement includes Fluor's acquisition of EG&G's existing work force of 6,400 people. Fluor said terms of the agreement are still being ironed out, and the deal is subject to government approval.

EG&G's contract at Rocky Flats, which expires at the end of 1995, is valued at about $750 million for this fiscal year. But taking over the project is not expected to have a material effect on Fluor's financial situation, officials said. Rather, Fluor said, the acquisition is aimed at positioning itself for the long term to win more business in the cleanup of nuclear reactors and other facilities.

In fact, Fluor said, it is preparing to bid on a new five-year federal contract for the actual cleanup of the Rocky Flats facility. While the acquisition of EG&G's contract will not necessarily help Fluor win the new contract, Fluor officials said, it certainly won't hurt.

"It's a great opportunity to gain experience," especially in handling plutonium, said John Bradburne, vice president for Energy Department programs at Fluor, which is already managing the cleanup of a government weapons facility in Ohio that produced uranium.

Bids for the next Rocky Flats contract, valued at more than $3.75 billion over five years, are due Nov. 1.

In heavy trading Friday, Fluor's stock rose 87.5 cents to close at $54 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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