Jennifer Granholm, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, is seeking funding from Congress that will be used to establish a domestic source of enriched uranium. In the letter, requesting the funds, the Department of Energy stated that America’s reliance on imports from Russia created a vulnerability to the country’s economic and national security.
This letter comes as Western nations continue imposing sanctions on Rosatom Corp. in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Rosatom Corp. is the Russian state’s atomic energy company and the biggest supplier of nuclear reactors and nuclear fuel globally. Russia is also one of the largest suppliers of enriched uranium worldwide, supplying more than 50% of the total enriched uranium used around the globe.
Granholm added in the letter that America’s ability to enrich the yellow cake itself had reduced after it was undermined by state-sponsored competition. The department’s letter was forwarded to Senator Joe Manchin. Manchin, who is a Democrat, is the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
The energy secretary explained in the letter that it was important that the United States address the vulnerability caused by reliance on foreign imports by building a domestic nuclear fuel supply that was stronger and would be useful in the future. The letter also called for more investments to improve the manufacture of low-enriched uranium in the country as well as other needed forms of uranium for specific nuclear reactors.
Manchin, who has played a crucial role in efforts by Democrats to approve President Joe Biden’s spending proposal, recently approved more funding for national enrichment of nuclear reactor fuel.
At the moment, America only has one commercial enrichment facility, which is located in New Mexico. The facility is owned by a Dutch, German and British Consortium known as Urenco Ltd. Centrus Energy Corp, which supplies nuclear fuel and nuclear services, is in the process of building a nuclear enrichment facility. The company is based in Maryland.
In the letter, Granholm added that Ukraine’s invasion by Russia and the corresponding effects that this had on the supply of fuel globally highlighted the threat that relying on fuels supplied from Russia had to energy security on a global scale.
Earlier this year, Manchin and Sen. Jim Risch introduced the International Nuclear Energy Act, which will establish an office for nuclear energy policy in an effort to facilitate the development of a nuclear export strategy and offset the influence that nations such as Russia and China have on nuclear energy development at the global level.
When such funding is appropriated by Congress, domestic uranium extractors such as Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) could end up being major suppliers for this proposed enrichment facility.
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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