BISMARCK – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee member, issued the following statement on the Department of Commerce striking a preliminary deal to limit Russian uranium imports through 2040:
“Once again we see President Trump’s America first administration in action, bolstering our efforts to produce reliable, clean energy and reduce reliance on foreign adversaries. The deal secured by Secretary Ross, if finalized, will protect American producers and diminish the possibility of Russian influence in the nuclear energy industry. This is a win for America’s economic and national security, and I applaud the administration for their work.”
Senator Cramer joined a bipartisan letter led by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) to the Department of Commerce calling on the administration to take these steps. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the deal.
“This draft agreement represents an important step forward for the American nuclear industry,” said Secretary Ross. “If finalized, it will contribute to the restoration of America’s nuclear energy advantage and protect the domestic industry from dumped Russian uranium.”
According to Commerce, the draft amendment would:
- Reduce U.S. imports of uranium from Russia. Under the current Agreement, Russian uranium exports are limited to approximately 20% of U.S. enrichment demand. Under the amended Agreement, this figure would drop to an average of approximately 17% over the next 20 years and would be no higher than 15% starting in 2028.
- Strengthen existing protections for the U.S. commercial enrichment industry. By extending and reducing the Agreement’s export limits, the draft amendment would enable the U.S. commercial enrichment industry to compete on fair terms.
- Establish unprecedented protections for U.S. uranium miners and the U.S. uranium converter. Under the current Agreement, Russia can use its entire export quota for the sale of not only the enrichment component of the low-enriched uranium (LEU), but also the natural uranium concentrates and conversion components of the LEU. By contrast, the amended Agreement would allow only a portion of the export quota to be used for the sale of the natural uranium components (concentrates and conversion) from Russia. On average, this portion will be equivalent to approximately 7% of U.S. enrichment demand, and no higher than 5% starting in 2026.
- Fix “returned feed” provisions in the existing Agreement that prejudice U.S. uranium miners. Under the current Agreement, foreign origin returned feed (i.e., natural uranium delivered by U.S. customers to the Russian exporter, in exchange for enriched uranium) can be delivered to the Russian exporter, enriched in Western Europe, and then exported to the United States outside the Agreement’s export limits. The amended Agreement would require foreign origin returned feed that is enriched in third countries to be subject to the Agreement’s export limits if exported back to the United States.
- Allow for the fulfillment of U.S. customers’ preexisting contracts for Russian uranium. There are U.S. companies that have contracts to purchase uranium from Russia before Commerce launched negotiations to extend the Agreement beyond 2020. The limits in the agreement are structured to enable the majority of these contracts to be fulfilled.
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