DOE seeking comments on domestic uranium reserve program

August 13, 2021, 6:14AMNuclear News
[Image: U.S. DOE]

The Department of Energy has issued a request for information (RFI), inviting public comment on topics related to the establishment of its Uranium Reserve Program to support U.S. fuel cycle capabilities. Notice of the RFI was published in the August 11 Federal Register, with a deadline of September 10 for submitting comments.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, passed by Congress in December 2020, makes $75,000,000 available to the DOE for the Uranium Reserve Program. Under the program, the DOE would purchase uranium from domestic uranium producers to develop a stockpile of uranium that would be available for nuclear power operators in the event of a disruption to the civilian nuclear fuel market.

The purpose: The DOE said that it is publishing the RFI to gain a better understanding of the views of stakeholders, including tribal and other disadvantaged communities, on topics related to the establishment of a uranium reserve. Responses to the RFI will inform the department’s creation of a uranium reserve, as well as the development of a procurement strategy for uranium acquisition, conversion services, and storage.

A few questions: In the FR notice, the DOE lists 10 specific questions it is asking regarding the uranium reserve, including how such a program can incentivize the production of uranium from domestic sources, support the goals described in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, and promote energy justice.

The DOE is also asking how limitations and/or restrictions on establishing the reserve may affect the program. The DOE said that the production of new uranium must not require (1) initiation or expansion of mining on tribal lands, (2) expansion of the Office of Legacy Management’s Uranium Leasing Program, or (3) expansion of access to additional uranium deposits located on other federal lands.

How to respond: Comments can be submitted online, by email to rfi-uranium@hq.doe.gov, with “Response to Uranium Reserve RFI” included in the subject line, or by mail to Response to Uranium Reserve RFI, Attn.: Kyle Fowler, U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Mailstop NA-10, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585-0121.



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