The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Saturday, December 15, 2001

USEC wins in ruling on imports
U.S. tariffs will be imposed on two European companies that sold enriched uranium at unfair low prices.

By Bill Bartleman

Two European companies that compete with USEC Inc. are selling enriched uranium in the United States at unfair low prices, the U.S. Department of Commerce has ruled.

The final ruling issued Friday is essentially the same as a preliminary ruling issued last summer, and is a victory for USEC. The company filed a complaint a year ago with the Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The ruling says Eurodif, S.A., a firm controlled by the French government, and the British operation of Urenco Ltd. will be assessed higher import duties to make their prices competitive with USEC, which operates the nation's only uranium enrichment plant in Paducah.

The investigation found that the companies charged prices below those charged in their home countries or below their cost plus a reasonable profit. In some cases, they found the prices were low because of government subsidies.

An extra duty of 32.78 percent will be applied to the value of imported enriched uranium from France and an extra duty of 2.26 percent will be applied to imports from Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, according to the ruling.

The International Trade Commission on Jan. 18 is scheduled to issue a final ruling on its investigation of the effect the low-priced uranium had on USEC. Earlier this year, the agency's preliminary ruling was that the low-priced imports threatened to harm domestic production of enriched uranium.

The higher duty is expected to help protect jobs at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and the Honeywell plant in Metropolis, Ill., which produces raw product for Paducah. Together, they employ 1,800 people.

Urenco Ltd. revealed earlier this week that it is considering building an enrichment plant in the United States that would provide even more competition for USEC. The company said it could begin preliminary environmental approval next month. It hasn't picked a site for the $1 billion facility.