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US Nuclear Industry Urges Trump to Revive Uranium Mining

Power News - Published on Mon, 09 Sep 2019

Image Source: Japan Times
Japan Times reported that US nuclear energy industry has called for the Trump administration to revive domestic uranium mining and enrichment by unlocking funds through a Cold War-era program, in a letter sent to a Cabinet-level working group. The Aug. 18 letter from the Nuclear Energy Institute, or NEI, to national security adviser John Bolton and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, urges the Trump administration to authorize funds through the 1950 Defense Production Act to procure domestic fuel for defense requirements and boost federal reserves of uranium for nuclear power utilities. In the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, the NEI urges unspecified “direct payments to either a US utility or domestic uranium producer for sale of U.S.-origin uranium to a utility.”

The letter said that “The most effective support the federal government can provide to the domestic mining, conversion, and enrichment industries is to fulfill the government’s national security needs with long-term contracts.”

Some experts question the necessity of taking such measures, arguing that the United States has enough uranium in stockpiles including the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee for submarines, aircraft carriers, weapons and energy for decades.

Ms Sharon Squassoni a nuclear policy professor at George Washington University said that “Frankly we have already taken care of our naval fuel needs for (the) next 60 years. We are awash in enriched uranium for weapons.”

The US nuclear energy industry is suffering from high safety costs and low prices for natural gas, a competitor in generating power. Between 2013 and the end of this year, nine nuclear plants will have closed, and eight are scheduled to close in coming years.

US nuclear companies are concerned that China and Russia are taking the lead in developing nuclear power abroad. The United States does not have a domestic technology enrichment facility, and NEI says reviving that industry will help it compete.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Mon, 09 Sep 2019
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