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Biden signs bipartisan bill prohibiting Russian imports of enriched uranium

by Olena Goncharova May 14, 2024 4:53 AM 2 min read
US President Joe Biden on Nov. 2, 2023, in the White House. (Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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President Joe Biden on May 13 signed a bipartisan bill that bans Russian imports of enriched uranium, the primary fuel used in nuclear power plants. The move aims to sever one of the remaining major financial channels from the United States to Russia amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

"This new law reestablishes America’s leadership in the nuclear sector. It will help secure our energy sector for generations to come," U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. "...It will jumpstart new enrichment capacity in the United States and send a clear message to industry that we are committed to long-term growth in our nuclear sector."

Following the February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Congress promptly moved to prohibit Russian oil and gas imports. However, implementing sanctions on uranium imports has been a lengthier process.

This delay is attributed, in part, to Russia's substantial contribution of approximately 20 percent of U.S. nuclear fuel. Concerns among lawmakers about potential disruptions to the nation's 93 nuclear reactors have influenced the pace of action on this matter.

The bipartisan legislation will enforce a prohibition on uranium imports from Moscow starting 90 days following its enactment. It will provide waivers until 2028 for utilities that would be forced to shut down nuclear reactors once Russian supplies are cut off, the Washington Post reports. The bill also frees up $2.7 billion passed in previous legislation to build out the domestic uranium processing industry.

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