US Buys $1 Billion in Russian Uranium After Sanctioning Moscow to Smithereens

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us, russia, energy, uranium, enriched uranium

us, russia, energy, uranium, enriched uranium

Before the escalation of the long-running Donbass crisis into a full-blown Russia-NATO proxy war in Ukraine last year, America’s nuclear power plants depended on Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan for nearly half of their enriched uranium. Well over a year into the conflict, Washington has apparently failed to find alternatives.

The Biden administration’s failed quest to sanction the Russian economy into oblivion throughout the past year has included one massive exception this whole time – with the US continuing to buy Russian-sourced enriched uranium for use in nuclear power plants like there’s no tomorrow.
According to calculations by US business media, American companies purchased roughly $1 billion worth of Russian enriched uranium over the past year.
Industry experts attribute the continued buy up of the key commodity to the lack of domestic US conversion and enrichment capabilities, with Russian nuclear giant Rosatom continuing to account for about a quarter of all enriched uranium used by America’s vast network of NPPs.
On top of that, nuclear power is reportedly enjoying a revival amid spiking prices for hydrocarbons (caused in large part by disruptions to the global market amid Western countries’ efforts to delink themselves from Russia), as well as environmental concerns, with nuclear deemed the least damaging to climate change-obsessed regulators seeking out zero-CO2 emissions energy sources.
ROSATOM corporation's stand on display at the exhibition Russia Looking Into the Future at the central exhibition hall Manege, Moscow - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.04.2023

G7 Can’t Replace Russia’s Nuclear Fuel and Expertise

The network of 56 operational US nuclear power plants operating across over two dozen states provide up to one fifth of America’s electricity, and about ten percent of the country’s total energy needs.

Enriched uranium was curiously left off of the Biden administration’s import bans targeting Russian energy last year, and stayed off despite warnings by the Beltway media that Russia might take US nuclear reactors offline by stopping uranium deliveries. Neither Washington nor Moscow seem to have heeded the call to search for alternative markets.

While Russia only mines about six percent of the world’s uranium, it controls roughly 40 percent of the uranium conversion market, and 46 percent of total global enrichment capacity. That means that in the event of a hypothetical ban on sales, the US would be left hard pressed to find alternatives, unless it starts buying Russian-sourced enriched uranium disguised as uranium from some third country. About a quarter of the uranium used by American NPPs is also sourced from Russia’s Kazakh and Uzbek partners, meaning Moscow could hypothetically put a significant squeeze on US energy security if it chose to do so.





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