US’s dependence on Russian nuclear fuel poses threat to NS – Energy Dept

Moscow: The United States’ reliance on Russian nuclear fuel is of serious concern, as it poses a critical threat to the country’s national security and stands in the way of achieving climate goals, US Assistant Secretary of Energy Kathryn Huff said on Tuesday.
“It’s really critical that we get off of our dependence, especially from Russia … Without action Russia will continue to hold on to this market … This is really important for national security, for climate, for our energy independence,” Huff said in an interview with the Financial Times.
The head of the Office of Nuclear Energy also described the fact that about 20% of the fuel used by US reactors is received under contracts with Russian suppliers as “gravely concerning.”
She acknowledged that Russia controls nearly 50% of the world’s nuclear enrichment capacity, while accusing the country of successfully working for years to undermine the US nuclear supply chains by dumping cheap enriched uranium on the global market.
The administration of US President Joe Biden asked Congress for an additional $2.16 billion to support a strategy to encourage US companies to increase uranium enrichment and conversion capacity, Huff said. This plan will allow the Department of Energy to ensure adequate fuel supplies for the growing number of nuclear reactors as a long-term buyer of last resort. However, she added, the success of these investments will depend on the introduction of long-term sanctions on Russian nuclear products and services.
“We have seen in the past that the dumping of cheap Russian enriched uranium products has historically really damaged our fuel cycle and has brought us to where we are today,” Huff said.
The US needs to sign five to 10 contracts to build new reactors over the next two to three years to meet its clean power generation goals for 2050, she added.

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