US seeks to ban Russian uranium – Bloomberg
A $4.3 billion plan aimed at weaning the US off Russian supplies of enriched uranium is awaiting approval from Congress, according to unnamed sources close to the matter, as quoted by Bloomberg.
If approved, the plan will provide funds to purchase the nuclear-reactor fuel directly from US producers, allowing Washington to halt imports from Russia.
The US is the world’s largest producer of nuclear energy, accounting for roughly 20% of domestic electric output. Russia reportedly accounted for 16.5% of the uranium imported into the US in 2020 and 23% of the enriched uranium needed to power the country’s commercial nuclear reactors.
According to US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, America’s reliance on Russian imports is a “vulnerability” for national and economic security.
The US has the capacity to mine uranium, but the country still heavily relies on Russia when it comes to uranium enrichment. To jump-start the domestic uranium industry is not an easy step for the US, the agency said on Tuesday, adding that the country has only one remaining commercial enrichment facility – a New Mexico plant run by Urenco, a British-German-Dutch consortium. A shift away from Russian uranium may force the US to turn to Canada and Australia.
The proposal to ban Russian uranium is part of increasing US sanctions pressure on Moscow in response to its ongoing military operation in Ukraine.
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