Interior Oversight Committee Exposes DOE Censorship of Independent Report on Uranium Transfers

Published: Apr 22, 2015

The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior, led by Chairman Cynthia Lummis (WY-At Large) today examined whether the Department of Energy (DOE) operated outside of its legal authority with regards to uranium transfers under the United States Enrichment Corporation Privatization Act (USECAct) and placed undue influence on a final market analysis showing the impact of uranium transfers on the domestic market.

A 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that the DOE:

·         lacked statutory authority to conduct uranium transfers under USEC Act

·         did not obtain a required presidential determination under the USEC Act

·         failed to properly value the uranium that was being transferred

·         violated the Miscellaneous Receipts statute by selling uranium to USEC and not depositing the receipt of these sales in the Treasury as required by law

Subcommittee Chairman Cynthia Lummis asked the GAO’s witness David Trimble:

Chairman Lummis: QUESTION

“Between 2009-2011 DOE made seven transfers of excess uranium to pay for clean up services at a DOE enrichment facility. Did that activity violate the Miscellaneous Receipts Statute?”

David Trimble: ANSWER

“That was our finding in our 2011 report.”

DOE CENSORSHIP: An Oversight and Government Reform Committee document request found that the DOE censored (here)an independent market analysis conducted by Energy Resources International (ERI) showing that potential uranium transfers may impact the domestic uranium market (here). Following DOE influence, the final ERI report language showing market impact was significantly altered compared to previous analyses (here).

BACKGROUND

The USEC Act was created as a government corporation in 1992 to provide the nation’s domestic uranium enrichment services for both commercial power and national security needs. It was privatized in 1998 under the USEC Privatization Act.

The Department of Energy’s Excess Uranium Inventory Management Plan outlines the DOE’s introduction of excess uranium inventory into the commercial marketplace. Since 2012, the DOE has made four large uranium transfers.