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Mr. MARKEY. After Congress privatized the United States Enrichment Corporation in 1996, we quickly learned that it couldn't survive in the private sector without continued and repeated bailouts by the taxpayer to the tune of billions of dollars. This company should actually be renamed the United States Earmark Corporation. The government has given it free centrifuge technology. The government has given it free uranium that it enriches and then it sells below market prices, undercutting its free market competitors. The government has paid to clean up its radioactive waste. The government has assumed its liabilities. And what has happened to the billions of dollars that it has received from the taxpayers?
Well, the entire company is now worth far less than the $150 million that is contained in this bill. It may be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and become a penny stock. And after Tuesday's announcement of another gift of free uranium for USEC, Standard & Poor's downgraded it to junk bond status. J.P. Morgan is now in charge of all of its remaining dwindling cash. And when I asked the Treasury Department whether the government's support for the government puts taxpayers at risk, it said ``yes'' to me.
We've been told that this earmark is only about getting the tridium we need for our nuclear weapons, but that is
not true. The treaty that governs uranium enrichment technology does not prevent other companies from doing the work, and URENCO is in New Mexico anyway--the competitor. And even if it did, there are other alternatives. When DOE examined its tridium options, it found that down-blending surplus highly enriched uranium would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars less than to use this corporation.
This is a waste of money. There are better alternatives already in the United States. There are better technologies that can be used at hundreds of millions of dollars less, and we are continuing to pour this earmark money down a rat hole and wasting it. We should be spending this money on the defense of our Nation.
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