Biden signs into law ban on Russian nuclear reactor fuel imports

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden signed into law a ban on Russian enriched uranium on Monday, the White House said, in the latest effort by Washington to disrupt President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The ban on imports of the fuel for nuclear power plants begins in about 90 days, although it allows the Department of Energy to issue waivers in case of supply concerns.
Russia is the world’s top supplier of enriched uranium, and about 24% of the enriched uranium used by U.S. nuclear power plants come from the country.
The law also unlocks about $2.7 billion in funding in previous legislation to build out the U.S. uranium fuel industry.
“Today, President Biden signed into law a historic series of actions that will strengthen our nation’s energy and economic security by reducing, and ultimately eliminating, our reliance on Russia for civilian nuclear power,” Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, said in a statement.
Sullivan said the law “delivers on multilateral goals we have set with our allies and partners,” including a pledge last December with Canada, France, Japan and the United Kingdom to collectively invest $4.2 billion to expand enrichment and conversion capacity of uranium.
The waivers, if implemented by the Energy Department, allow all the Russian uranium imports the U.S. normally imports through 2027.
Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, said that Washington’s decision is leading to shocks in global economic relations, but will not bring the desired results.
“The delicate balance between exporters and importers of uranium products is being disrupted,” the Russian embassy in Washington cited Antonov as saying in a post on its Telegram messaging channel.
“Life has confirmed that the Russian economy is ready for any challenges and quickly responds to emerging difficulties, even extracting dividends from the situation. It will be so this time too.”


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