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US GOP Senators Introduce Bill to Ban Uranium Imports From Russia

© AP Photo / ANDRE LUIZ MELLOA worker prepares fuel pellets for a nuclear reactor at the uranium processing plant (File)
A worker prepares fuel pellets for a nuclear reactor at the uranium processing plant (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.03.2022
Washington has already imposed "severe" sanctions packages against Moscow over its special operation in Ukraine, including a ban on all energy imports from Russia.
A group of Republican senators in the US has introduced a bill to ban uranium imports from Russia, claiming that "the time is now to permanently remove all Russian energy from the American marketplace".
The bill was initiated by John Barrasso, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who was supported by Senators Cynthia Lummis, Roger Marshall, and Kevin Cramer.

In a statement on Thursday, Barrasso argued that "while banning imports of Russian oil, gas, and coal is an important step, it cannot be the last".

He asserted that the ban on Russian uranium imports "will further defund Russia's war machine, help revive American uranium production, and increase our [US] national security".
Marshall, for his part, recalled that "imports from Russia and its allies, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, account for nearly half of the uranium powering the United States' nuclear plants".

"This high level of dependence on foreign uranium was threatening our national interest and national security before Russia invaded Ukraine, now it's simply unacceptable. […] Enough is enough – energy independence means energy independence and that must include uranium", the senator added.

He was echoed by Scott Melbye, president of the Uranium Producers of America and executive VP of the Uranium Energy Corp, who accused Moscow of "cultivating American reliance on Russian nuclear fuel for some time" and "posing a dangerous threat" to US "energy and national security that has taken on new urgency".

"We can no longer tolerate this nuclear fuel dependence […]. The US has ample uranium resources and the capacity to produce them at the highest global standards. The domestic uranium industry stands ready to work with US utilities and other Western uranium suppliers to ensure every single domestic reactor will be able to maintain operations as the US economy increasingly relies on clean nuclear power", Melbye said.

According to the US Energy Information Administration estimates revealed last year, Russian uranium made up at least 16% of American purchases in 2020, with Canada and Kazakhstan each providing 22%. Imports of uranium are of great importance to the US, which has 93 operational nuclear reactor units, more than any other country in the world.

US Bans Energy Imports From Russia

Melbye's remarks followed US President Joe Biden announcing his administration's ban on Russian oil, natural gas, and coal supplies to America in response to Moscow's ongoing military special operation in Ukraine.
POTUS said that the US was "targeting the main artery of Russia's economy" by banning "all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy". The move came as part of Washington's "severe" sanctions on Moscow over its special operation to demilitarise and de­-Nazify Ukraine, launched on 24 September, following a request for help from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), which saw weeks of intensifying attacks by the Ukrainian Army.
In one of the latest developments, Russia's Defence Ministry said that more than 90% of the Lugansk region is now controlled by Russian forces. The ministry has repeatedly stressed that the special operation is only targeting Ukraine's military infrastructure and Russian high-precision weapons strikes do not pose a threat to the civilian population.
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