URENCO was founded in 1970 following the signing of the Treaty of Almelo by the governments of Germany, the Netherlands and the UK and was incorporated as an English private limited liability company on 31 August 1971. The Almelo Treaty establishes the fundamental principles for effective supervision of URENCO’s technology and enrichment operations with respect to non-proliferation issues. A committee comprising representatives of the governments of the signatory countries (the “Joint Committee”), exercises this role but has no role in the day-to-day operations of URENCO. The Joint Committee considers all questions concerning the safeguards system (as established by IAEA and EURATOM), classification arrangements and security procedures, exports of the technology and EUP and other non-proliferation issues. In this respect the Joint Committee also considers issues connected with any changes in URENCO’s ownership and transfers of technology. URENCO’s Executive Management meets with the Joint Committee on a periodic basis.
Prior to the construction of URENCO’s enrichment facility in the US and in order to permit the transfer into the US of classified information in respect of URENCO’s proposed new facility, the US government entered into a new intergovernmental treaty (the Treaty of Washington) with the governments of Germany, the Netherlands and the UK to ensure that the same conditions that had been agreed in the Treaty of Almelo would also apply to the US. The Treaty of Washington was signed on 24 July 1992. In order to permit the completion (in 2006) of the joint venture with Orano regarding the Group’s technology business ETC, France needed to adhere to the principles of the Treaty of Almelo. A new treaty (the Treaty of Cardiff) signed by the governments of Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and France was signed on 12 July 2005. A further requirement for completion of the transaction was to obtain EC competition clearance. This was granted on 1 July 2006. The terms of the clearance require certain commitments from URENCO and Orano to ensure that URENCO and Orano remain competitors in the field of enrichment and that no commercially sensitive information about their enrichment operations passes between URENCO and Orano by virtue of their being joint shareholders of ETC.
URENCO’s shares are ultimately held one-third by the UK government (through Enrichment Holdings Limited) one-third by the Dutch government (through Ultra-Centrifuge Nederland Limited) and one-third by German utilities (through Uranit UK Limited*).
*Shares in its German holding company are held 50% by E.ON Kernkraft GmbH and 50% by RWE Power AG.