US and Russia in race to ban uranium trade – by Henry Lazenby (Northern Miner – December 20, 2023)

The United States Congress is preparing for critical votes on legislation impacting the country’s uranium industry, focusing on the Nuclear Fuel Security Act (NFSA) and a potential ban on Russian uranium imports. The proposed NFSA promises to direct about US$2 billion towards revitalizing the domestic uranium and nuclear fuel sectors, upon approval, as a matter of national security.

The funding may come from standard government appropriations or special emergency allocations by the White House. This governmental engagement has already been a catalyst, driving uranium prices up 71% year-on-year to a current high of US$82.30 per lb. of uranium oxide from below US$20.

But Russia might beat the U.S. to the punch and turn off the tap of uranium exports to the U.S. first. Bloomberg reported on Dec. 15 that Tenex, a Russian state-owned uranium enterprise, was cautioning its American customers about the possibility of Russia pre-emptively stopping uranium exports to the U.S.

This potential move comes in response to the NFSA that would ban imports beginning in 2028. The strategic maneuvering comes as the U.S., reliant on imports for about 40% of its nuclear fuel from countries like Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, is looking to reduce this foreign dependence.

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