Russian nuclear giant slams US uranium ban

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Washington’s ban on imports of enriched uranium from Russia is discriminatory and could undermine the global nuclear fuel market, state-owned energy giant Rosatom has warned.

US President Joe Biden signed a bill into law on Monday banning the importation of Russian nuclear reactor fuel, with the legislation set to come into effect in 90 days.

“We consider the enacted US law banning the import of Russian enriched uranium as discriminatory and non-market-oriented,” Rosatom said in a written statement to RIA Novosti.

“It is obvious that such decisions, which have political context, are destructive for the sustainable functioning of the global… nuclear industry,” the company stated.

Rosatom said separately that it maintains its strong position as a global leader in nuclear technologies and will continue to develop relations with foreign partners interested in long-term cooperation.

Russia provided almost a quarter of the enriched uranium that fueled US commercial nuclear reactors in 2022, making it America’s top foreign supplier of the fuel that year, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

While the US has its own deposits of uranium, they are not sufficient to satisfy demand. Meanwhile, Russia hosts the world’s largest uranium enrichment complex, accounting for almost half of global capacity.

As of 2022, Russia was the largest enriched uranium exporter on the global market, accounting for roughly 35% of sales worldwide with an estimated export value of $2 billion.

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.”

The Kremlin assured the media on Tuesday that the ban would have no “critical” effect on Russia’s nuclear industry, “one of the most advanced in the world.” Washington has resorted to sanctioning Russian uranium imports due to its inability to compete with the country’s nuclear industry, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov warned the move could backfire on the US economy.

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