WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – The United States is working to supply its own uranium to existing and advanced nuclear reactors that may be commercial in the future to reduce Russia’s dependence on the fuel, Jennifer Granholm, the US energy secretary told reporters. . Wednesday.
The United States relies on Russia and its allies in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan for about half of the uranium that powers nuclear power. President Joe Biden’s administration has banned Russian petroleum imports because of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but has not banned its uranium.
Biden in August signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which contained $700 million to produce a supply of highly enriched uranium (HALEU) that most of the reactors being developed will use. In addition, the administration in March used the Defense Production Act during the Cold War to support the production and processing of essential minerals.
“The United States wants to be able to get its fuel from us and that is why we are developing a plan for uranium,” Granholm told reporters at a conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Washington.
“We will work… to improve that and ensure that we are able to fire our reactors and partners to those who have those desires,” he added.
In September, the White House asked Congress for an additional $1.5 billion in a temporary government funding bill to increase domestic supply of enriched uranium and HALEU. The measure was not attached to the annual defense spending bill because some lawmakers were concerned about the cost.
But Granholm said management “needs a significant additional amount by the end of the year for a comprehensive plan.”
The Department of Energy has a supply of highly enriched uranium, which it can use to reduce fuel in reactors. Some supporters of nuclear power want to increase US mining and processing of uranium, actions many environmentalists want to reduce.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner Editing by Bill Berkrot
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