The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Wednesday, February 27, 2002

USEC, Russia reach agreement

Staff Report

USEC Inc. issued a brief statement Tuesday confirming a new contract with Russia for cheaper units of enriched uranium derived from dismantled Soviet nuclear warheads.

The statement said shipments will start in March, as scheduled. USEC said it will provide details as soon as the contract is approved by U.S. and Russian officials. "It's inappropriate for us to discuss the terms of the agreement until both governments have approved it," said USEC spokeswoman Elizabeth Stuckle.

Various Washington sources, including energy workers' union officials, said Friday that USEC and Russian counterpart TENEX had signed the deal in Moscow, pending governmental approval.

USEC says it needs cheaper prices for the Russian material to help offset higher-priced enriched uranium produced by the 1,500-employee Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

The Russian contract is expected to be part of an agreement between USEC and the Department of Energy to keep the plant operational for several years. But union officials fear that if too much Russian material is imported, it will displace plant production and lead to shutdown.