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UK invests 300 million pounds in nuclear fuel, eroding Russia's dominance of sector

by Nate Ostiller January 7, 2024 3:43 PM 2 min read
Aerial photograph of the nuclear fuel processing site of Sellafield in Seascale, England, on July 13, 2017. (David Goddard/Getty Images)
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The U.K. is investing 300 million pounds ($381 million) into the production of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) as a part of a larger bid to improve the country's self-sustainable energy resources and cut dependence on Russia, the U.K.'s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced on Jan. 7.

HALEU is a specialized fuel required to power most modern nuclear reactors, and it is currently only produced commercially in Russia. The U.K., along with the EU, has worked to reduce its energy dependence on Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

The U.K. reported in June 2022 that it had not imported any fossil fuels from Russia for the first time since 2000, when the data was first collected. The EU also said in October 2023 that it reduced coal imports from Russia by 90% and gas imports by 75%.

Investments into the U.K.'s domestic production of HALEU are part of a strategy to increase the share of nuclear power to 25% of the U.K.'s energy needs by 2050. As of 2022, nuclear energy accounted for 14% of total electricity supplied.

"We stood up to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin on oil and gas and financial markets, we won’t let him hold us to ransom on nuclear fuel," said Claire Coutinho, the U.K.'s Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.

"This will be critical for energy security at home and abroad and builds on Britain’s historic competitive advantages."

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