Biden Signs Bipartisan Bill Banning Uranium Imports From Russia

The ban on Russian uranium imports is expected to go into effect 90 days after its enactment.

President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan bill on Monday banning the import of Russian enriched uranium in a bid to reduce the United States’ reliance on Russia for civilian nuclear power.

“This new law reestablishes America’s leadership in the nuclear sector. It will help secure our energy sector for generations to come,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

“This law also delivers on multilateral goals we have set with our allies and partners, including our pledge last December—alongside Canada, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom—to collectively invest $4.2 billion to expand enrichment and conversion capacity in our countries,” he said.

The new law will take effect on Aug. 12. Under the bill, the Department of Energy may issue a waiver if there is no other feasible source of low-enriched uranium available to sustain the operation of a nuclear reactor, or if the uranium import is “in the national interest.”

The waiver process will continue until Jan. 1, 2028, according to the State Department.

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The Senate unanimously passed the bill last week. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a sponsor of the bill, said that the new legislation would end “Russia’s choke hold on America’s uranium supply.”

“Russia has been undermining America’s nuclear industry for decades. As a result, [Russian President Vladimir Putin] now controls 50 percent of the world’s enrichment capacity,” Mr. Barrasso said on the Senate floor on May 8.

“With our legislation, Putin will lose a billion dollars in revenue each and every year. By banning Russian uranium, we’re striking a serious blow to Putin’s war machine,” he added.

Mr. Barrasso represents the state of Wyoming, which leads in the country’s uranium production, having produced an estimated 173,000 pounds in 2019 and accounting for nearly all U.S. production, according to the Wyoming Mining Association.

Russia’s Response to Import Ban

Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, stated on a Telegram messaging channel that the U.S. ban on Russian uranium imports will cause “new shocks in international economic relations.”

Mr. Antonov accused Washington of trying to inflict “strategic economic defeat” on Russia, and said that the Biden administration’s sanctions policy will not produce the desired results.

“Washington lacks enough national enrichment capacity and so is harming its own economy. Moreover, the financial losses for the United States will be much greater than for Russia,” Mr. Antonov stated.

“Reality has shown that the Russian economy is ready for any challenges and quickly responds to emerging difficulties, even extracting dividends from the situation. It will be so this time too,” he added.

The United States heavily depends on imported uranium and has more nuclear reactors than any other country, with 94 nuclear power reactors in 28 states, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The EIA stated that in 2022, U.S. nuclear power plants imported about 27 percent of their uranium from Canada, 25 percent from Kazakhstan, and 12 percent from Russia.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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