Utilities win duty exemption

3 September 2002

United States, The US House of Representatives cleared trade legislation on 26 July, that includes a provision exempting from a 4.9% duty "steam or other vapour generating boilers used in nuclear facilities" imported into the USA from 1 January, 2002 until 31 December, 2006.

According to industry figures, about 36 steam generators will be imported into the USA over the period covered by the bill, but 8 of the steam generators will come from the Canadian facilities of Babcock & Wilcox, which opposed the lifting of the duty. Under NAFTA, steam generators built in Canada are not subject to the duty.

The Nuclear Energy Institute estimates that utilities buying steam generators from overseas companies will save at least $20 million over the life of the bill. It also anticipates that come 2006, there will probably be a call to extend the provision beyond that date if there is no domestic steam generator manufacturing capability. It has been estimated that utilities might buy $750 million worth of steam generators over the period 2006-2025.

Westinghouse was the last US manufacturer of steam generators, and it stopped production at its Pensacola, Florida facility in 1999.

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