USEC has won the initial round in its anti-dumping campaign against Eurodif and Urenco, as reported in the February 2001 issue of NEI. Details of the ruling are that the US Interational Trade Commission ruled 4-0 that enriched uranium imports from Europe are probably harming the US uranium enrichment industry.

“The ITC’s decision is an important step in validating USEC’s antidumping claims,” said USEC president and CEO William Timbers. “These unfair trade practices must be stopped for the good of US national and energy security and the nuclear fuel cycle.” In December 2000, the US Department of Commerce provisionally agreed to investigate USEC’s claim that Eurodif (through its US sales agent Cogema) and Urenco have been selling uranium enrichment services in the US market below their cost of production, and that they are benefitting from unfair government subsidies in their home markets. The Commerce Department investigation was contingent upon and ITC ruling that the US uranium enrichment industry has been harmed by European imports.

Preliminary Commerce Department rulings regarding countervailing duties are expected by March, and on the antidumping case by May. If the department rules in USEC’s favour, US utilities that import enriched uranium from Europe will have to post a bond to cover potential duties on the merchandise.

A final Commerce Department ruling is expected towards the end of 2001.

USEC’s trade complaint is being watched closely in Congress, where senator Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has warned that a favourable ruling for USEC could have a “serious impact on ratepayers” in North Carolina. Helms has also warned that USEC’s trade complaint sets a bad precedent by applying US trade laws to the sale of services.