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US Senate approves ban on Russian uranium imports

In a move to undercut Russia’s revenue from uranium exports, the US Senate unanimously passed a bill banning Russian uranium imports.
A truck carries containers with low-enriched uranium to be used as fuel for nuclear reactors, at a port in St. Petersburg, Russia. Illustrative photo.
US Senate approves ban on Russian uranium imports

The US Senate unanimously approved legislation prohibiting imports of depleted uranium from Russia, a move the White House has called “a national security priority”.

The Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act would bar US imports 90 days after enactment while allowing temporary waivers until January 2028.

The US House of Representatives approved the measure in December 2023. All 100 senators approved the bill on 30 April.

“Our bipartisan legislation will help defund Russia’s war machine, revive American uranium production, and jump-start investments in America’s nuclear fuel supply chain,” Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming said. “This is a tremendous victory.”

According to Bloomberg, Russia provided almost a quarter of the depleted uranium used to fuel America’s fleet of more than 90 commercial reactors, making it the No. 1 foreign supplier. The sales provide “an estimated $1 billion a year to Russia, but replacing that supply could be a challenge and risks raising the costs of depleted uranium by about 20%,” the agency reported.

Credit: Bloomberg

The White House stated, “Without action, Russia will continue its hold on the global uranium market to the detriment of US allies and partners.”

The legislation permits the Department of Energy to issue waivers authorizing Russian uranium imports through 2027 under export limits set in an anti-dumping agreement.

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