The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Saturday, July 07, 2001

Imported uranium will now have duty
The U.S. Department of Commerce ruled foreign producers are selling uranium at unfairly low prices in the United States.

By Joe Walker

Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant operator USEC Inc. has won another round in its fight to show European competitors are selling enriched uranium at unfairly low prices in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Commerce ruled Friday that duties should be imposed on future uranium imports from Eurodif, S.A., a firm controlled by the French government, and the British operation of Urenco Ltd. The ruling estimates duty rates at 17.52 percent for Eurodif and 3.35 percent for Urenco.

Friday's ruling applied only to whether European uranium has been sold in the United States at prices below those charged in the producers' home countries or below their cost plus a reasonable profit

In May, the Commerce Department ruled on a separate issue, saying the companies had been unfairly subsidized by their governments at rates of 13.94 percent for Eurodif and 3.72 percent for Urenco.

After Friday's ruling is published, the department will require the French and British importers to post bond or pay cash deposits equal to the amounts of the duties cited in the May and July orders.

"Today's decision is another step toward restoring fair pricing in the U.S. enrichment market," Robert Moore, USEC senior vice president and general counsel said in a news release. "Dumping by Eurodif and Urenco has injured the domestic enrichment industry."

Two major legs of the industry are the Paducah plant, which enriches uranium for nuclear fuel, and the Honeywell plant in Metropolis, Ill., which produces raw product for Paducah. Employing more than 1,800 people, they are the only plants of their type in the nation.

If the Commerce Department carries the findings to final orders, Moore said, "it will benefit the domestic enrichment industry, the U.S. nuclear fuel cycle and national energy security objectives."

Assuming the preliminary rulings stand and are supported by the International Trade Commission, the Commerce Department will impose final duties around the end of the year.

Friday's ruling also calculated duty rates of .46 percent for German uranium sold in the U.S., and .55 percent for uranium shipped here from the Netherlands. But because the margins are less than 2 percent, federal law requires those importers to post bonds or pay cash deposits only for duties cited in the May order.