Rep. Howard Nielson joined this week as a co-sponsor of a bill to help U.S. uranium producers by imposing an import fee on foreign supplies of the fuel.

The legislation would tax imports above a specified level on a sliding scale for the next 12 years.Nielson, R-Utah, said that if the "foundering domestic uranium industry . . . were given some relief for that period of time it would be in a much better position to compete."

The industry and the U.S. Department of Energy argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this week over whether DOE should halt its enrichment of foreign uranium to help the industry.