HomeScienceThe US moves to stop buying uranium from Russia and start producing...

The US moves to stop buying uranium from Russia and start producing it at home

President Joe Biden signed a brand new legislation that bars the US from importing uranium from Russia within the hopes of jumpstarting home mining to gas nuclear reactors. The legislation additionally unlocks $2.7 billion in federal funding to shore up that home provide chain, which Congress beforehand authorized pending limits on imports from Russia.

Russia has traditionally been one of many greatest suppliers of uranium to the US and different international locations. When the US banned coal, oil, and fuel imports in response to the conflict in Ukraine in 2022, it excluded uranium from its sanctions, which confirmed how a lot the US will depend on international imports of uranium, notably from Russia and its allies.

Since then, there’s been a bipartisan push to kickstart home uranium mining and processing. For the Biden administration, uranium performs a key function in assembly US local weather objectives by pairing renewables like photo voltaic and wind with extra constant electrical energy technology from nuclear reactors. However whereas nuclear power may assist the US scale back its greenhouse fuel emissions, it additionally stokes conflicts with communities impacted by uranium manufacturing and nuclear waste.

“Our nation’s clear power future is not going to depend on Russian imports.”

“Our nation’s clear power future is not going to depend on Russian imports,” Secretary of Vitality Jennifer Granholm mentioned in a press launch. “We’re making investments to construct out a safe nuclear gas provide chain right here in the US.”

Russian state nuclear power firm Rosatom provides round 20 % of America’s enriched uranium. Russia additionally dominates the world’s business provide of extra extremely enriched uranium, used to gas next-generation nuclear reactors.

Nuclear power proponents are assured there’s been sufficient technological development to stop earlier disasters, though communities alongside the availability chain for uranium are nonetheless on edge.

The Biden administration created a brand new nationwide monument close to the Grand Canyon that forestalls uranium mining alongside huge swathes of land inside borders, a transfer that state lawmakers are preventing. Pinyon Plain was already grandfathered in with an present permitted declare and can nonetheless be allowed to dig up uranium inside the new monument’s borders.

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