Centrus Part 11: The French connection

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When the United States Enrichment Corporation was created, it allowed for a free market to completely open for nuclear power plants to get uranium. At least that is what the propaganda would have a person believe. The truth is, the deluge of uranium that came in from Russia took up half the market with the Megatons to Megawatts program. The French had their own need to sell the uranium that they got from Africa. All of this was done while the United States also had uranium mines and a need to sell some of theirs on the free market.

The anti-dumping order

On December 27, 2000, the Department of Commerce issued an anti-dumping order to stop the French from selling African uranium in the United States. While the French were the main part of the argument, the European Union countries of Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom were also affected. This was pushed by the then USEC and it’s Senior Vice President Philip Sewell. There were hearings and reports on the matter. It came down to the fact that with half the power plants out of the market and Congress was having to buy up excess uranium, the market was flooded.

The governmental bodies of the European Union got upset at the anti-dumping order. They filed a protest because they believed their economies would be hurt. Beyond that, there is a lot of ill feeling about a program that allowed the Russians to recover their economy after all the occurrences of the Cold War. This caused many issues internationally, but the biggest was further erosion in uranium prices.

USEC still gets paid

One of the advantages USEC has is that the government has continued to look out for it. In the case of the anti-dumping issue, USEC was able to receive $70 million from the tariffs. Eurodiff, one of the European companies, also had to use USEC to enrich uranium in 2009 and 2010. That brought more money into the company. The entire process was set up to help them.

The costs to the taxpayer

Here is the other part that taxpayers had to foot the bill for. Congress held hearings, the U.S. International Trade Commission held meetings and made a report, and other agencies were brought in. That means that taxpayers had their money used to help the company. All of this allowed the company to be protected from the free market, even though it was created to compete in that market.

Centrus has been protected at every step by the federal government. It has cost taxpayers a lot of money. Next article will be about another executive who came straight from the government.

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