WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. nuclear energy industry has called for the Trump administration to revive domestic uranium mining and enrichment by unlocking funds through a Cold War-era program, in a letter sent to a Cabinet-level working group.
The Aug. 18 letter from the Nuclear Energy Institute, or NEI, to national security adviser John Bolton and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, urges the Trump administration to authorize funds through the 1950 Defense Production Act to procure domestic fuel for defense requirements and boost federal reserves of uranium for nuclear power utilities.
In the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, the NEI urges unspecified “direct payments to either a U.S. utility or domestic uranium producer for sale of U.S.-origin uranium to a utility.”
“The most effective support the federal government can provide to the domestic mining, conversion, and enrichment industries is to fulfill the government’s national security needs with long-term contracts,” the letter says.
Some experts question the necessity of taking such measures, arguing that the United States has enough uranium in stockpiles including the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee for submarines, air craft carriers, weapons and energy for decades.