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US senators urge Trump to extend Russian uranium import quota

A cross-party group of US senators has called on the Department of Commerce to extend the Russian Suspension Agreement (RSA), one of the key recommendations by president Donald Trump’s Nuclear Fuel Working Group (NFWG).
US senators urge Trump to extend Russian uranium import quota US senators urge Trump to extend Russian uranium import quota US senators urge Trump to extend Russian uranium import quota US senators urge Trump to extend Russian uranium import quota US senators urge Trump to extend Russian uranium import quota

A bipartisan group of US senators has urged the Department of Commerce to reduce the allowed volume of uranium imports from Russia

The letter to Department of Commerce assistant secretary Jeffrey Kessler urges the US government to reduce imports of Russian uranium to below existing limits and stop uranium dumping, citing the NFWG's assertion that Russia had "weaponised" its energy supplies. The NFWG report documented Russia's decades-long approach to target America's nuclear fuel sector, and concluded it posed "a serious national security threat".

The NFWG outlined 18 steps to revitalise the domestic nuclear industry.

The group said this would protect the USA's natural uranium fuel supply chain from "aggressive and illegal trade practices of nuclear state-owned enterprises of foreign adversaries".

The NFWG was established by Trump in July last year to undertake a sweeping review of national security considerations regarding the country's nuclear fuel supply chain, following a Section 232 petition from US uranium miners calling for reduced uranium imports.

The current RSA, which has been amended several times since the original 1992 agreement, expires this year and is under review by the Department of Commerce. It currently sets a maximum cap for imports of Russian uranium at 20% of US demand.

The senators also argue the Department of Commerce review should be based on accurate demand projections, saying World Nuclear Association data consistently overestimated US uranium demand.

They said it was "imperative" for the commerce department to extend the RSA, threatening to "pursue all paths to statutorily limit Russia's ability to manipulate our uranium markets".

"The Russian Federation should know that congress will not stand by while they unfairly manipulate the uranium market for their geostrategic purposes. We will not stand by while our nuclear industry is subjected to illegal energy market campaigns," said the 10 senators.

The most recent US Energy Information Administration data shows 2019 domestic production totalled 170,000lb uranium, down 89% year-on-year.