Today, the Texas uranium mining industry is virtually silent. Indeed, across the U.S., this once-thriving industry now supplies only a small fraction of our domestic nuclear energy and defense requirements, threatening our energy independence and national security. Along with many others, the U.S. Department of Commerce, or DOC, is now asking, why?
As the world’s largest consumer of uranium, the U.S. now produces only 5 percent of the uranium needed to supply 20 percent of our nation’s electricity, representing nearly 60 percent of our clean, zero-carbon electricity. As recently as 1987, almost 50 percent of our nuclear fuel consumption came from domestically produced sources.
Earlier this year, Energy Fuels Resources (USA) and Ur-Energy USA Inc. petitioned the DOC to investigate the adverse effects of uranium imports on national security under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
The DOC began its investigation in July, taking a major step toward safeguarding our national security and ensuring that no nation gains the power to hold the U.S. hostage to its geopolitical goals.
Here in Texas, we have a proud 60-year history of mining more than 78 million pounds of uranium. When uranium mining was active (as recently as 2011), the industry contributed enormously to the state economy, creating $311 million in annual economic output, while supporting more than 1,100 jobs — mostly in poorer, rural communities — and contributing more than $78 million in wages, salaries and benefits, according to a Center for Economic Development and Research study conducted by the University of North Texas.
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