Biden signs law banning imports of Russian uranium

President Joe Biden on Monday signed bipartisan legislation banning imports of Russian uranium. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
1 of 2 | President Joe Biden on Monday signed bipartisan legislation banning imports of Russian uranium. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

May 13 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Monday signed bipartisan legislation banning the importation of Russian uranium, severing the United States from its dependency on the Kremlin-controlled resource while cutting off the Putin regime from another key revenue source for its war against Ukraine.

According to the U.S. Congressional Research Service, Russia supplied the United States' 93 nuclear reactors with 24% of their uranium enrichment services in 2022. Under the new law, unirradiated, low-enriched uranium from Russia will be prohibited within 90 days from Monday, with waivers included until 2028 at the latest for U.S. nuclear reactor operators with no alternative viable source for the resource.


National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan described the law in a statement Monday as one that will re-establish the United States as a leader in the nuclear sector as it will "help secure our energy for generations to come."


He said the bill will "strengthen our nation's energy and economic security by reducing -- and ultimately eliminating -- our reliance on Russia for civilian nuclear power."

Combined with $2.7 billion in Congress-approved federal funding, the bill will "jumpstart new enrichment capacity in the United States and send a clear message to industry that we are committed to long-term growth in our nuclear sector."

After the bill was signed Monday, Russia's Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov warned that the move would lead to new shocks in international economic relations, stating "the delicate balance between exporters and importers of uranium products is under treat," state-run-TASS reported.

"The [Biden] administration's sanctions policy is not leading to desired results. Reality has shown 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," Antonov said.

Russia's Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine sent shockwaves through the global energy industry as countries dependent on Russian fuels scrambled to find alternatives.

The Biden administration responded to the war with sanctions and bans on imports of Russian commodities, including oil and gas, but the United States was unable to cut itself off Moscow uranium. According to a U.S. House of Representatives report, over the last few decades it has grown a dependency on the Kremlin for it.


The legislation, House Bill 1042, passed the House with a voice vote in December. And the Senate passed it late last month without amendment by unanimous consent.

The bill was framed in the House report as a method to restore the United States' domestic nuclear fuel supply chain through ending Russia's supply of cheap fuels to the domestic market without giving the possibility of the Kremlin re-entering once its war in Ukraine was over.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., ranking member of the Senate energy and natural resources committee, said last week from the Senate floor that with the bill, "Russia's chokehold on American's uranium supply was coming to an end."

Russian President Vladimir Putin's "war machine has now lost one of its cash cows," he said. "America is finally starting to take back our nuclear energy security as well as our energy future."

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