Since 2013, the nuclear energy arm of the Russian state has controlled 20 percent of America’s uranium production capacity.
Rosatom’s acquisition of Toronto-based miner Uranium One Inc. made the Russian agency, which also builds nuclear weapons, one the world’s top five producers of the radioactive metal and gave it ownership of a mine in Wyoming.
The deal, approved by a committee that included then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also followed donations from Uranium One’s Canadian chairman to the Clinton Global Foundation, the New York Times reported on Thursday.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, Ian Telfer, the former Uranium One chairman and current chairman of Goldcorp Inc., said he pledged a donation of $3 million to the Clinton charity in March 2008, “when it was never contemplated that at some point in the future the Russian government would become a major shareholder of Uranium One.”
Why did the Russian government want Uranium One? Russia is only the world’s sixth-largest uranium miner, but has a huge nuclear fuel industry. Rosatom had built that business partly by processing uranium from Soviet warheads decommissioned under the so-called megatons-to-megawatts agreement signed with the U.S. in 1993.
As that accord neared its end, Russia needed a new source of supply and Uranium One provided a solution. In 2010, a unit of Rosatom bought a majority stake and three years later, Russia paid $1.3 billion for the rest of the company.
The company that became Uranium One was founded in 1997 and merged with two competitors in 2005. In 2007, it bought UrAsia, a company co-founded by Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra that owned uranium mining assets in Kazakhstan.
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