US Senate approves bill to ban Russian uranium imports


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate approved on Tuesday legislation to bar imports of Russian uranium, as the United States continues to seek to disrupt Russia’s efforts in its war against Ukraine.

The Senate passed the measure by unanimous consent, meaning that no senators objected to it. The House of Representatives passed the bill in December.

is used to power commercial nuclear reactors that produce electricity.

The legislation would ban the imports 90 days after enactment. It contains waivers in case there were supply concerns for domestic reactors. The bill also frees up $2.7 billion passed in previous legislation to build out the domestic uranium processing industry.

The United States banned Russian oil imports shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and instituted a price cap on some exports of its crude and oil products.

U.S. nuclear power plants imported around 12% of their uranium from Russia in 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Wyoming has the uranium to replace Russian imports, and we’re ready to use it,” said U.S. Senator John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, in a statement. Barrasso is from the state of Wyoming.

“Our bipartisan legislation will help defund Russia’s war machine, revive American uranium production, and jumpstart investments in America’s nuclear fuel supply chain,” he said.

Last week, President Joe Biden signed a foreign aid bill to provide billions of dollars of aid to Ukraine in its war against Russia.

Biden is expected to sign the uranium imports bill into law.

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A spokesperson for the National Security Council had called on Congress to impose the ban in a statement on Monday, saying doing so “would provide assurance to industry, allies, and partners that the U.S. has made a clear decision to establish a secure nuclear fuel supply chain, independent of adversarial influence, for decades to come.”