After seven years of legal and administrative battles French nuclear energy conglomerate Areva and Baltimore-based uranium fuel supplier USEC announced a settlement of an anti-dumping order imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on French low-enriched uranium.

The anti-dumping issues raised in the appeals and administrative proceedings had generated a friend-of-the-court brief by aluminum giant Alcoa about its own concerns about anti-dumping duties.

Despite the settlement, the Department of Commerce anti-dumping order is expected to remain in place at least until 2012.

The settlement provides that USEC is expected to realize $70 million before taxes from estimated duties deposited by Areva subsidiary Eurodif S.A. or its affiliates.

In a statement, Peter Saba, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of USEC, said, ‘The terms of this settlement allow USEC to secure additional funds for our on-going operations and for our investment in the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, as well as sales that will benefit our existing enrichment plant in Paducah, Kentucky.”

The company said its original objective in asking the U.S. government to conduct the antidumping investigation “was to protect the U.S. uranium industry, its workers and the communities in which they live from unfairly priced imports.”

Saba said the company appreciates the strong support “we received from the federal agencies, Congress and the United Steelworkers throughout this case”.

In January the U.S. Supreme Court concurred with the U.S. government and USEC that the Commerce Department had reasonably concluded that such enriched uranium sales were sales of merchandise covered under the anti-dumping law.

Alcoa said the question presented in the case was of significant importance to the company involves the interpretation of the anti-dumping statute. “As a global producer of aluminum and aluminum products, Alcoa is also a global consumer of numerous internationally traded products that are or may be subject to antidumping duties.

The aluminum company also raised concerns affecting the cost of electricity in the United States. Alcoa asserted that imposing antidumping duties on low-enriched uranium from France will increase the cost of electricity production at domestic nuclear power plant, “adversely affecting Alcoa and its ability to remain competitive in the United States.”