U.S. Supreme Court
Huffman v. Western Nuclear, Inc., 486 U.S. 663 (1988)
Huffman v. Western Nuclear, Inc.
Argued April 27, 1988
Decided June 15, 1988
486 U.S. 663
Section 161(v) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 authorizes the Department of Energy (DOE) to offer its services, for a fee, to convert natural uranium into the enriched uranium used for fuel in commercial reactors, and provides that DOE "shall" restrict its enrichment of foreign-source uranium intended for use in domestic facilities "to the extent necessary to assure the maintenance of a viable domestic uranium industry." DOE has determined that the domestic uranium industry has not been "viable" since 1983, and that the imposition of restrictions on DOE's enrichment of foreign uranium would not assure viability. Respondent domestic uranium mining and milling companies filed suit against petitioners (DOE and some of its officers and employees) in Federal District Court, alleging that DOE's failure to impose restrictions on the enrichment of foreign uranium for use in domestic facilities constituted a violation of § 161(v). Respondents moved for summary judgment based on this claim, arguing that two facts -- that the domestic industry was not viable and that DOE imposed no restrictions on enrichment of foreign uranium -- established their entitlement to judgment as a matter of law under § 161(v). Petitioners filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, contending that § 161(v) did not require restrictions when those restrictions would not serve the statutory goal of assuring the maintenance of a viable domestic industry. The court entered summary judgment for respondents, holding that the statute gave DOE no discretion to determine not to impose restrictions if the domestic industry was not viable. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in relevant part.
Held: Section 161(v) does not require DOE to restrict the enrichment of foreign uranium where such restriction would not achieve the statutory goal of "assur[ing] the maintenance of a viable domestic uranium industry," for the statute ties the amount of restriction to be imposed to the achievement of that goal. Pp. 486 U. S. 671-674.
825 F.2d 1430, reversed and remanded.
BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. chanrobles.com-red