Summary: S.755 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (11/17/1995)

USEC Privatization Act - Directs the Board of Directors of the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) to transfer USEC ownership to a private corporation established under this Act. Mandates the inclusion of sale proceeds in the budget baseline required by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Gramm- Rudman-Hollings Act), and its inclusion as an offset to direct spending.

(Sec. 5) Requires USEC directors to establish a private not-for-profit profit and non-Government-related corporation under the laws of a State for the purpose of receiving the assets and obligations of USEC at privatization and continuing USEC business operations following privatization.

(Sec. 7) Directs USEC to transfer the lease of gaseous diffusion plants and related property at Paducah, Kentucky, and Piketon, Ohio, to the private corporation concurrent with such privatization. Prohibits the Secretary of Energy (the Secretary) from leasing to the private corporation facilities necessary for the production of highly enriched uranium.

(Sec. 8) Prescribes procedural guidelines for: (1) transfer of contracts to the private corporation, including the right to purchase power from the Secretary under previous power purchase contracts for the gaseous diffusion plants; (2) assignment of USEC liabilities; (3) pension, post-retirement health benefit, and collective bargaining agreement protections for contractor employees at the two gaseous diffusion plants; and (4) retention of Federal retirement and health benefits by former Federal employees.

(Sec. 11) Prohibits USEC directors, officers, or employees from acquiring any securities (or rights to acquire any securities) of the private corporation on terms more favorable than those offered to the general public in specified circumstances.

(Sec. 12) Requires the U.S. Executive Agent under the Russian HEU Agreement to transfer to the Secretary without charge title to an amount of uranium hexafluoride (based on a tails assay of 0.30 U235) equivalent to the natural uranium component of low-enriched uranium derived from at least 18 metric tons of highly enriched uranium purchased from the Russian Executive Agent under such Agreement. Deems such uranium hexafluoride to be of Russian origin. Requires the Secretary to sell, and receive payment for, the transferred uranium hexafluoride for: (1) overfeeding in the operations of enrichment facilities in the United States; (2) end use outside the United States; or (3) consumption by end users in the United States after January 1, 2002, according to a specified schedule beginning in 1998. Requires the U.S. Executive Agent, upon request of the Russian Executive Agent, to deliver concurrently to such Agent, an amount of uranium hexafluoride equivalent to the natural uranium component of such low-enriched uranium.

Provides for auction of such uranium hexafluoride, or U308 (in the event that the conversion component of such hexafluoride has previously been sold), if the Russian Executive Agent does not exercise its right to agree to take delivery of the natural uranium component of any low-enriched uranium within 90 days after delivery of such low-enriched uranium to the U.S. Executive Agent.

Grants the Secretary of Commerce responsibility for administration and enforcement of the limitations set forth in this section.

Requires the Secretary of Energy to transfer to USEC without charge up to 50 metric tons of enriched uranium and up to 7,000 metric tons of natural uranium from the Department of Energy (DOE) stockpile. Prohibits USEC from delivering for commercial end use in the United States: (1) any of such uranium before January 1, 1998; (2) more than ten percent of such uranium or more than 4 million pounds, whichever is less, in any calendar year after 1997; or (3) more than 800,000 separative work units contained in low-enriched uranium transferred in any calendar year.

Authorizes the Secretary to sell, from time to time, natural and low-enriched uranium from the DOE stockpile, subject to specified conditions. Permits DOE transfer or sale of enriched uranium to: (1) Federal agencies; (2) any person for national security purposes; or (3) any State or local agency or non-profit, charitable, or educational institution for use other than the commercial generation of electricity.

(Sec. 13) Prescribes guidelines under which the Secretary shall accept low-level radioactive waste (including depleted uranium if ultimately determined to be such waste) for disposal at the request and expense (by reimbursement) of the generator.

(Sec. 14) Grants USEC exclusive commercial rights to deploy and use any federally owned or controlled Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS) patents, processes and technical information, upon completion of a royalty agreement with the Secretary.

Instructs the President to transfer related AVLIS property (except those related to the gaseous diffusion, gas centrifuge, and uranium enrichment programs) to USEC upon its request.

(Sec. 15) Grants the Corporation exclusive commercial rights for both uranium enrichment and non-uranium enrichment uses of patents, patent applications, trade secrets, and other technical information related to federally owned or controlled gaseous diffusion technology. Provides for payment of royalties by USEC to the Department of Energy for such uses.

(Sec. 17) Amends the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to: (1) repeal the mandate and authority of USEC as of the privatization date; and (2) exclude from the definition of "production facility" the construction and operation of a uranium enrichment facility using AVLIS technology, and make such a facility eligible for one-step licensing.

Prohibits issuance of any license or certificate of compliance to USEC or its successor if its issuance would, in the opinion of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), be inimical to: (1) the common defense and security of the United States: or (2) maintenance of a reliable and economical domestic source of enrichment services because of the nature and extent of USEC ownership, control or domination by a foreign corporation or government or any other relevant factors or circumstances.

Provides for periodic application of USEC for NRC certification at least once every five years (instead of annually). Revises the purview of judicial review of NRC actions to include: (1) any final order establishing standards to govern DOE gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment facilities, including facilities leased to a corporation established under this Act; and (2) any final determination relating to whether such facilities comply with such standards.

Provides for civil money penalties for violations of licensing or certification requirements.