Two uranium companies with mines in Wyoming may get a boost from the Trump administration, forcing U.S. nuclear power plants to obtain more of their fuel from American producers.
Amidst sustained low prices for uranium, UR-Energy and Energy Fuels approached the Commerce Department with a proposal: investigate whether low-priced imports of uranium risk national security.
The department accepted that petition, noting the importance of uranium to domestic infrastructure and “weapons systems.” Officials have about nine months to offer a recommendation to the president on the companies’ contention of a national security risk and their proposed remedies: quotas on imports from countries like Russia and setting aside 25 percent of the domestic market for U.S. producers.
Wyoming’s uranium industry is the largest in the country, though just a handful of companies mine in the state. And it’s been under pressure. Companies, via the Wyoming Mining Association, approached lawmakers last summer seeking tax breaks.
Their argument, which ultimately failed, was that prices had fallen so low that mines would start looking at layoffs and potentially shuttering their facilities. A tax break would allow companies to invest money into new projects rather than just scrape by.