Biden Signs Bill Banning Russian Uranium, Gives Billions for American Production

by | May 14, 2024

Biden Signs Bill Banning Russian Uranium, Gives Billions for American Production

by | May 14, 2024

gas centrifuge cascade

A cascade of gas centrifuges at a U.S. enrichment plant

President Joe Biden signed a bill into law that bans Russian uranium imports and provides nearly $3 billion in handouts to boost domestic production. The bill provides an exemption to allow US companies to import Russian uranium if they have no other options. 

On Monday, the ‘Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act’ became law after months of delay. The House passed the legislation in December, but Sen. Ted Curz blocked the vote over unrelated objections to provisions that were removed from the NDAA. The Senate unanimously passed the bill last month. 

A lobbyist for American uranium producers criticized the government for taking so long to pass the law but celebrated the Russian ban. “It’s kind of ridiculous that it took as long as it did to get to this stage,” said Scott Melbye, executive vice president of mining company Uranium Energy and president of the Uranium Producers of America. “But we’re just glad that we got here.”

The law requires the 90-day ban on Russian enriched uranium imports unless the nuclear fuel is deemed essential. The US government can grant waivers through 2028. Additionally, the law provides $2.7 billion to boost domestic uranium production. 

While Washington has attempted to completely isolate Moscow and cripple the Russian economy, the US has continued to import Russian uranium two years after the invasion of Ukraine. The US imports about $1 billion in nuclear fuel from Russia yearly. 

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso was instrumental in pushing the legislation in the Senate, and said his state plans to be vital in expanding uranium production in the US. “America’s nuclear industry is ready to transition away from Russian uranium. Wyoming has the resources we need to boost production at home.” He added, “The first step is permanently removing all Russian energy, including uranium, from the American marketplace.”

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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