US House Passes Bill Banning Uranium Imports from Russia

Tue Dec 12 2023
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WASHINGTON: To put more pressure on Moscow for its war on Ukraine, the US House of Representatives imposed a ban on the importation of Russian uranium on Monday.

However, the measure has waivers in case of supply concerns for domestic reactors.

Before becoming law, the bill must be approved by the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden. It is unclear if the Senate timetable will allow a vote on it this year.

The House suspended regular voting procedures on the bill and approved it by voice vote. The bill would prohibit imports for 90 days following enactment, subject to waivers.

The House bill includes waivers that permit the import of low-enriched uranium from Russia if the shipments are in the country’s best interests or if the US Energy Secretary finds that there is no other source available for the functioning of a nuclear reactor or a US nuclear energy enterprise.

Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, before the vote, said, “The risks of continuing this dependence on Russia for our nuclear fuels are simply too great. It’s weakening America’s nuclear fuel infrastructure, which has declined significantly because of reliance on these cheap fuels.”

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, the United States placed a price ceiling on the country’s seaborne exports of crude and oil products and banned the import of Russian oil; however, it did not ban the import of uranium.

The US Energy Information Administration estimates that in 2022, nuclear power reactors in the US imported 12% of their uranium from Russia, compared to 27% from Canada and 25% from Kazakhstan. According to the EIA, roughly 5% of the uranium utilized domestically in that year came from the United States.

Under the waiver, permitted Russian uranium imports would progressively decline from approximately 476.5 tonnes in 2024 to 459 metric tonnes in 2027.





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