Areva and Usec Inc. have signed an agreement to end their 7-year litigation concerning French enrichment services in the USA, as well as Usec’s dumping allegations, which Areva had always denied.

The agreement will see Areva reclaim a sizeable portion of the provisional customs duties it paid in the USA as part of the claim, and all ongoing administrative and legal procedures on the matter shall be dropped.

Under the terms of the settlement, Usec said it is expected to realize approximately $70 million (before taxes) from estimated duties deposited by Eurodif SA or its affiliates.

“The terms of this settlement allow Usec to secure additional funds for our on-going operations and for our investment in the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, as well as sales that will benefit our existing enrichment plant in Paducah, Kentucky,” said Peter Saba, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of Usec.

This ends all procedures taken since 2001 as part of the anti-dumping order introduced by the US Department of Commerce in 2002, aimed at French imports of slightly-enriched uranium. The order shall remain in force until its next reappraisal by US authorities in 2012. In addition, Usec will supply Areva with enrichment services in 2009 and 2010.

François-Xavier Rouxel, Executive VP of Areva’s Enrichment business unit, called the agreement “excellent for both companies and for our US customers.”

Areva has filed a license application to build an enrichment facility in Idaho – the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility. The project represents an investment of more than $2 billion for the firm and is expected to begin operations in 2014. Meanwhile Usec said that a multi-stage cascade of AC100 machines at its American Centrifuge Plant is expected to start operation under commercial conditions early in the third quarter of 2009.