The Biden administration recently imposed a ban on imports from Russia following the Eastern European country’s invasion of Ukraine. Uranium, which is a key radioactive metal used to make fuel for nuclear reactors in the United States, wasn’t included in this ban.
However, the U.S. is considering imposing sanctions on Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corp, a Russian state atomic corporation, which caused the price of uranium to rise to $60.
America’s dependence on foreign sources for uranium leaves its nuclear energy sector vulnerable to conflict. Currently, Russia exports 20% of the uranium used in reactors in the United States. The country is also the major supplier of uranium that’s fuel-ready to the global market.
Experts believe that imposing sanctions on imports from Russia will increase the cost of uranium for nuclear power plants around the globe, which will leave American utilities open to more fluctuations. But uranium miners in America see this as an opportunity to make bank by restarting idle uranium mines while helping the country fight back against Russia.
For instance, Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR), the company that owns the only uranium mill in the U.S., is considering restarting up some of its mines. The CEO of this major uranium mining firm, Mark Chalmers, stated that the U.S. had the ability to be more self-sufficient, revealing that if the price of uranium rose or stayed the same, the firm would bring some of its operations back online.
One of the assets the firm is considering is the Pinyon Plain project, which is an open-pit mine that’s located near the Grand Canyon. Chalmers noted that the project was in a position to begin production if the firm chose to.
Restarting mines is easier said than done though, as estimates from the World Nuclear Association show that only a single mine in the whole country produced uranium in 2020. It isn’t clear how long it will take to increase the production of uranium in the country either, given the federal and state regulatory hurdles.
The nuclear industry shrank drastically a couple of years ago when the price of uranium was very low, with most firms ceasing operations at their mines.
Additionally, the metal received bad press for several years, something which made the sector lose a significant portion of investor interest. Currently, however, a revival is taking place and more investors are flocking to the industry’s leading actors. This could be the start of the renaissance of uranium mining in the U.S. as companies such as Energy Fuels make contribute to the country becoming self-sufficient in its energy sector.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/UUUU
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