US Senate unanimously approves ban on Russian enriched uranium imports

The Biden administration has for months called for restrictions on America’s top foreign supplier

The US Senate on Tuesday gave approval to legislation prohibiting enriched uranium imports from Russia. The Act Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports was unanimously approved and has now been sent to President Joe Biden to sign into law.
According to the US Energy Department, in 2022, Russia supplied 24% of all enriched uranium shipped to the country, thus becoming the top importer of the crucial fuel. While the US has its own deposits of uranium, they are not sufficient to satisfy demand. Russia accounts for nearly half of global capacity.
Commenting on the act, Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, a Republican, said: “our bipartisan legislation will help defund Russia’s war machine, revive American uranium production, and jump-start investments in America’s nuclear fuel supply chain.”

The bill envisions a ban on Russian enriched uranium imports, allowing temporary waivers until January 2028. It also frees up $2.7 billion passed in previous legislation to develop America’s own uranium processing industry.
Bloomberg quoted Jonathan Hinze, the president of nuclear fuel market research firm UxC, as warning that the ban could see enriched uranium prices go up by 20%, with one SWU (a standard unit of measurement in the industry) costing as much as $200. The media outlet also said Moscow could halt all exports to the US on its own, depriving Washington of a large chunk of the uranium it needs overnight.
The US House of Representatives backed the bill last December, and there is little doubt that Biden will give his approval as well.
In October 2023, the White House called for a long-term ban on enriched uranium imports from Russia, describing it as a “national security priority.” In a fact sheet at the time, the Biden administration argued that “dependence on Russian sources of uranium creates risk to the US economy.”