The U.S. uranium mining industry has been devastated. This year, we expect it will provide less than 2 percent of the uranium that our country’s nuclear power plants need to produce 20 percent of our electricity — the lowest U.S. supply level since before the Cold War.
This is no accident. We believe this is a deliberate result of strategies by rival countries to increasingly dominate the global nuclear marketplace and undercut U.S. national and energy security.
More than one-third of uranium imports now come from state-sponsored enterprises in Russia and its satellites. That number is expected to increase as imports from allies such as Canada, Australia, and Namibia decrease. These government-owned industries employ what many would consider to be unfair trade practices that flood the global market with cheap uranium and nuclear fuel. Now China is following in their footsteps.
The Department of Defense-led analysis of the U.S. defense industrial base ordered by President Trump has been released. It describes how the Chinese government leverages its monopoly on certain natural resources to undermine the United States. China’s goal, according to many experts, is to force U.S. suppliers in critical industries out of business.
The strategy is working. Six uranium mines in the U.S. have been forced to close in recent years because of artificially low prices. Allied uranium mining has been felled by the same geopolitical weapon. In Canada, only one uranium mine remains in operation, down from four in 2014. Soon, one of the largest uranium mines in Australia will shut down.
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