© Stocksak. FILE PHOTO – U.S. Secretary Of Energy Jennifer Granholm speaks at a briefing regarding the bipartisan infrastructure law, held at the White House, Washington, U.S.A., May 16, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON (Stocksak), – The United States is attempting to supply its own uranium for advanced and existing nuclear reactors, which could become commercial in order to reduce Russia’s dependence on the fuel. This was stated by Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Secretary.
The United States depends on Russia and its allies Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan for approximately half of the uranium that powers its nuclear power stations. The President Joe Biden administration has banned imports from Russia of petroleum because of Moscow’s invasion in Ukraine. However, it has not banned its use of uranium.
Inflation Reduction Act signed by Biden on August. It included $700 million for producing high-assay low enriched Uranium (HALEU), which many advanced reactors in development plan to use. In March, the administration invoked the Cold War era Defense Production Act to support the production of critical minerals.
Granholm said that the United States wanted to be able source its own fuel from itself and that’s why they are developing an uranium strategy. Granholm spoke at an International Atomic Energy Agency conference held in Washington.
She added, “We’ll work on… enhancing it and making sure we can fuel our reactors as well the partners to those with those ambitions,”
In September, Congress was asked by the White House to approve $1.5 billion for a temporary funding bill. This was to boost domestic supply low-enriched uranium. Because some lawmakers were concerned about the costs, the measure was not attached as part of the annual defense spending bill.
Granholm stated that the administration is seeking an additional large sum by the year’s end to implement a more ambitious strategy.
The Department of Energy is able to downblend fuel for its reactors from heavily enriched Uranium. Some nuclear power proponents also want the United States to increase its mining and processing of Uranium. This is something that many environmentalists are opposed to.