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Experts assess US plans to ban Russian uranium imports – Reuters


“The American nuclear industry is ready to abandon the use of Russian uranium. Wyoming has the resources to increase domestic uranium production. The first step should be the rejection of Russian energy, including the ‘uranium,’ the committee quoted Senator John Barrasso as saying.

According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), in 2021, Kazakhstan produced the largest share of uranium from mines (45% of global supply), followed by Namibia (12%) and Canada (10 %). Russia in this list ranks 7th with more than 2,248,000 tons, while the United States ranks 15th and 8,000 tons.

According to the head of the analytical department of AMarkets Artem Deev, Russia is one of the main producers of enriched uranium in the world. In addition to the United States, whose dependence on Russian raw materials is around 10%, these raw materials are produced by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Nigeria and Canada. Kazakhstan is number one in the production of this type of product.

“I have to say that there have been repeated calls to give up uranium from Russia, the last time it was discussed in Congress a year ago. But US officials have not dared to accept such initiatives, because it would call into question the operation of the nuclear power plants available in the United States – they work mainly with raw materials from our country,” Deev said.
At the same time, he added that Russia supplies a lot of uranium to European countries and there are no problems with sales. The United States will have more difficulties, since it is possible to replace this raw material, but it is not fast.

“The complexity of the nuclear power plant is that interruptions in the supply of uranium cannot be allowed – this threatens with technological problems,” the expert explained.

Therefore, we can definitely expect the following, Deev believes. Either the United States will abandon this initiative again (as it did a year ago), or the ban on uranium imports from the Russian Federation will be adopted with a big delay – so that the nuclear power plants in the United States can find an alternative.

“Currently, three major producers: Orano, Rosatom and Urenco operate large commercial enrichment plants in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia,” the Association said. world nuclear power in a press release.

According to the World Nuclear Association’s 2021 report on nuclear fuel, Rosatom has four enrichment plants: in Novouralsk, Zelenogorsk, Angarsk and Seversk. The combined capacity of the four facilities is over 27 million units of uranium per year. At the same time, the total indicator of all manufacturers amounted to more than 60 million uranium per year.

The market is formed by those who direct the enrichment of uranium. In this respect, Russia is a very important player, explains Aleksey Kalachev, analyst at FG Finam.

“In the US market, the Russian uranium quota is about 20%, and that’s a lot,” Kalachev said.
The US market is the largest in the world because it has the largest number of nuclear reactors. However, today, it is more profitable for States to buy uranium in Russia or Kazakhstan, and not to produce it themselves, as was the case before, continues the expert. However, thanks to the sanctions, US lobbyists have received a boost.

“Russia has been supplying uranium to the United States in sufficiently large volumes and at an affordable price for many years. Despite the fact that the lobby of American manufacturers has never abandoned attempts to somehow limit ‘another imports to support their own nuclear scientists. For example, this topic has already been raised in 2020,’ he said. Kalashev.

However, if the United States bans the import of Russian uranium, China’s share could be increased. Russia can send enriched uranium there, which the states will refuse, notes Kalachev.

“Any restriction, any restructuring of the market in any case affects the rise in prices, the rise in prices. The United States has uranium reserves, but it takes time to find a new supplier, also at an affordable price. “Buying uranium from France is much more expensive than from Russia,” concluded the expert.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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