The U.S. imports uranium from Russia. What if sanctions end that? – by Steven Mufson (Washington Post – January 21, 2023)

If sanctions are imposed on Rosatom, Russia’s civilian nuclear firm, it could cut off exports of uranium to the U.S. and European nuclear industry. What would be the impact?

Russia’s state-owned nuclear power conglomerate, Rosatom, is suspected of supplying the Russian arms industry with components, technology and raw materials for missile fuel, The Washington Post reported Friday. The military goods were sent to more than half a dozen major weapons makers, aiding Moscow’s continuing assault on Ukraine.

That has elevated prospects that the United States, and possibly the European Union, might place sanctions on Rosatom, which exports uranium for use in nuclear reactors.

U.S. reliance on Russian nuclear fuel is substantial, but American companies have some options if Rosatom is hit with sanctions.

How did the United States and Russia get entwined in the civilian nuclear business?

After the end of the Cold War, U.S. and Russian leaders agreed that Russia would dismantle some of its nuclear weapons and send them to the United States to be repurposed and used in civilian nuclear reactors — the megaton to megawatt program. That ended in 2013. Over the course of the 20-year program as much as 10 percent of U.S. electricity came from fuel fabricated from Russian warheads.

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