To minimize fuel reliance on Russia, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters on Wednesday that the country is seeking to produce its own uranium for nuclear reactors that, in the future, could become commercial.
About half of the uranium used in America’s nuclear power reactors comes from Russia and its allies in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. After Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden’s government has prohibited imports of Russian petroleum except for uranium.
In August, Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which included $700M to increase production of high assay low enriched uranium (HALEU), a fuel component plan to be used in advanced reactors. Additionally, in March, the government used the Defence Production Act to support the production and processing of essential minerals.
“The United States wants to be able to source its own fuel from ourselves and that’s why we are developing a uranium strategy,” said Granholm to reporters at an International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Washington.
“We’ll be working on … enhancing that and making sure that we can fuel our own reactors as well as the partners to those who also have those ambitions.”
The White House requested an additional $1.5 billion in a temporary funding bill in September in order to increase the domestic production of low-enriched uranium and HALEU. Due to cost concerns, the bill was separated from the annual defence spending bill.
However, Granholm stated that the administration is “seeking an additional large amount by the year end for a more fulsome strategy.”
The U.S. Energy Department has supplies of highly enriched uranium, used to produce reactor fuel. Nuclear power supporters also seek to increase uranium mining and processing in the United States, two activities that many environmentalists would want to limit.
Original source material for this article taken from here