Treaty of Almelo
Urenco was founded in 1970 following the signing of the Treaty of Almelo by the governments of Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. It was incorporated as an English private limited liability company on 31 August 1971. The Treaty of Almelo establishes the fundamental principles for supervising effectively Urenco’s technology and enrichment operations with respect to non-proliferation.
A Joint Committee of representatives of the governments of the signatory countries exercises this supervisory role but has no role in Urenco’s day to day operations. The Joint Committee considers all questions concerning the safeguards system, as established by International Atomic Energy Agency and European Atomic Energy Community, classification arrangements and security procedures, exports of the technology and enriched uranium product and other non-proliferation issues. The Joint Committee also considers issues connected with changes in Urenco’s ownership and transfers of technology. Urenco’s Executive Management periodically meets with the Joint Committee.
Treaty of Washington
Before the construction of Urenco’s enrichment facility in the USA and in order to permit the transfer into the USA of classified information regarding 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 in the USA. The Treaty of Washington was signed on 24 July 1992.
Treaty of Cardiff
In order to permit the completion of the joint venture with Orano regarding Urenco’s technology business Enrichment Technology Company (ETC), France needed to adhere to the principles of the Treaty of Almelo. A new treaty, the Treaty of Cardiff, was signed on 12 July 2005 by the governments of Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and France. European Commission competition clearance was also required to complete the transaction. This was granted on 1 July 2006. The terms of the clearance require certain commitments from Urenco and Orano to ensure that they 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 Investments Limited, one third by the Dutch government, through Ultra-Centrifuge Nederland N.V., and one third by two German utilities, through a holding company, Uranit UK Limited. Shares in its German holding company are indirectly held 50% by E.ON S.E. and 50% by RWE AG.
The role of the shareholders and the Board is defined in the Urenco’s shareholder agreements and constitutional documents. The role of the governments who supervise Urenco from the non-proliferation perspective is set out in the Treaty of Almelo.