US Senate committee approves uranium reserve bill

A solid form of uranium oxide produced from uranium ore. Credit: Energy Fuels Inc.

The US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) has approved a bipartisan bill that, among other provisions, advances the federal initiative to establish a US national strategic uranium reserve.

Under the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act (ANIA), the US Department of Energy will be restricted to only buy uranium recovered from facilities licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or equivalent agreement state agencies as of the date of enactment.

Uranium from companies owned, controlled, or subject to jurisdictions in Russia or China are excluded from participating in the program.

Senate committee chairperson Senator John Barrasso said that the ANIA preserves America’s nuclear fuel supply chain, prevents more carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere, and protect economic, energy, and national security.

“The bipartisan Nuclear Infrastructure Act is broad reaching legislation, important for supporting the US nuclear fuel industry, national security and clean energy. The legislation will provide a clear path for implementation of the US uranium reserve and provide a strong platform to revitalise the US uranium industry,” Uranium Energy Corp CEO Amir Adnani said in a media release.

Section 402 of the ANIA specifies that not later than 60 days after the date of enactment, the Secretary of Energy, subject to the availability of appropriations, shall establish a program to operate a uranium reserve with the authority outlined in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.

The Trump administration released a report in April outlining its plan to revitalize the US nuclear energy industry and support domestic uranium mining amid concerns that the nation has lost its spotlight on the global nuclear technology stage.

Republican lawmakers and uranium producers have long called for measures to boost US uranium mining and the nuclear energy industry, which the report says was at “high risk of insolvency.”

Over recent years, US nuclear power producers and uranium miners have suffered from a lack of investment and support. Last year, Trump rejected a request by the county’s top two uranium producers Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy seeking 25% purchasing quotas for domestic uranium output.

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