Senators give Russian uranium ban another try

March 15, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News



A bipartisan group in the Senate is making another attempt to ban Russian uranium with the introduction of S. 763, the Reduce Russian Uranium Imports Act, after similar legislation introduced in the previous Congress just under one year ago by Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) failed to advance.

Debuting March 9, the new bill is sponsored by Barrasso and Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Jim Risch (R., Idaho), Martin Heinrich (D., N.M.), Cynthia Lummis (R., Wyo.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), and Roger Marshall (R., Kan.). Specifically, S. 763 calls for prohibiting “the importation into the United States of unirradiated low-enriched uranium that is produced in the Russian Federation or by a Russian entity.”

In addition, a House companion to the measure, H.R. 1042, was introduced last month by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bob Latta (R., Ohio), chair of the E&C Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Bill backers: “Every dollar we give to Russia supports Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine,” said Barrasso, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “America’s nuclear industry is ready to transition away from Russian uranium. Wyoming has the resources we need to boost production at home. The first step is permanently removing all Russian energy, including uranium, from the American marketplace. By banning Russian uranium imports, we can further defund Russia’s war machine, help revive American uranium production, and increase our national security.”

Manchin, ENR chairman, added, “Russia’s invasion completely changed the way natural gas and oil are bought and sold around the world, and the potential for even more supply disruptions—this time to our nuclear energy supply chain—is only increasing. This bill would help ensure that American nuclear energy companies aren’t reliant on Russian imported uranium fuel and send a strong message to the world that the United States doesn’t need to rely on Putin for the materials we need to power our country.”

In case you missed it: On February 15, Manchin, Barrasso, and Risch introduced the Nuclear Fuel Security Act, a bill that would authorize the Department of Energy to establish a Nuclear Fuel Security Program to “ensure a disruption in Russian uranium supply would not impact the development of advanced reactors or the operation of the United States’ light water reactor fleet.”

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