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U.S. to Privatize Uranium Company

From Associated Press

The Clinton administration on Monday said it will sell its uranium-processing corporation as required under a 1992 law.

The sale of U.S. Enrichment Corp., which processes uranium for nuclear power reactors, is expected to yield the government between $1.85 billion and $2.15 billion in a direct public offering.

The company will sell 100 million shares of stock at between $13.50 and $16.50 a share and pay the U.S. Treasury an additional $500 million.

In a letter to Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio), Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and Energy Secretary Federico Pena said the privatization “will permit the company to raise private capital and make investments in capital and technology without being constrained as a government-owned corporation.”

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President Clinton approved implementation of the privatization plan last July as called for in a 1992 law, and the USEC board of directors followed suit on Monday.

The plan had raised concerns about how a private company could carry out one of USEC’s central roles--buying Russian uranium removed from warheads to keep it away from foreign enemies or terrorists.

Rubin and Pena said the government reserved the right to replace the company if problems surfaced and that Clinton has established an oversight committee.

They also tried to allay concerns about job losses raised by Glenn and four other lawmakers. The corporation employs about 4,000 people in Ohio and Kentucky.

As part of the deal, they wrote, USEC is required to keep the plants open until 2005 and has agreed to job-security measures.


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