Obama Takes Flak for DOE Sale


"Under federal law, the DOE cannot make any sales or transfers that may adversely impact the domestic uranium mining. . ."

The Obama administration is taking some heat recently from those in the uranium industry who say the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) decision to transfer $200 million in excess uranium stockpiles to the United States Enrichment Corp (USEC) is having a softening effect on the spot market and hurting growth in the U.S. uranium sector.

Those keeping tabs on the uranium spot market are well aware that industry analysts believe the DOE move is definitely causing some concern in the market. The fear is that the transfer will flood the market with overabundant supply and continue to weigh prices down.

The spot market price doesn't just affect buyers and sellers, it affects the industry as a whole and that includes jobs.

Under federal law, the DOE cannot make any sales or transfers that may adversely impact the domestic uranium mining, conversion or enrichment industries and must analyze the market to assess the impact of such sales or transfers.

The DOE had determined earlier this year that the transfer to USEC would have 'no adverse material impact.'

In July of this year, the DOE turned down USEC's $2 billion loan application saying that the proposed American Centrifuge plant in Piketon, Ohio was not commercially viable.

USEC, a private sector enriched uranium fuel provider, said it would be forced to suspend work on its project and let employees go. Around 120 workers and over 850 of its supplier's workers eventually lost their jobs because of the DOE's decision, according to USEC.

USEC blamed President Obama for not living up to his campaign promises. "We are shocked and disappointed by DOE's decision," said USEC chief executive John Welch. "President Obama promised to support the loan guarantee for the American Centrifuge Plant while he campaigned in Ohio. We are disappointed that campaign commitment has not been met."

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