House passes bill barring imports of Russian uranium for nuclear power

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The House on Monday passed legislation that would bar imports of Russian uranium for nuclear power plants. 

The measure was passed by a voice vote with bipartisan support. Ahead of the voice vote, Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) and Democrat Frank Pallone (N.J.) spoke in favor of the bill. 

The legislation would make it illegal to import low-enriched uranium, which is used in nuclear fuel, 90 days after the bill becomes law. 

It allows for the prohibition to be waived, however, if there aren’t other viable sources of uranium to sustain nuclear reactors.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the majority of uranium that powers U.S. plants is imported, and about 12 percent of those imports came from Russia in 2022. 

“One of the most urgent security threats America faces right now is our dangerous reliance on Russia’s supply of nuclear fuels for our nuclear fleet,” Rodgers said, adding that the war in Ukraine “intensified” the issue. 

Pallone, meanwhile, said he formerly opposed the bill because he wanted to pair it with investments in domestic uranium enrichment. 

But, he said a measure that is expected to pass in the National Defense Authorization Act takes care of that issue.

“The combination of banning imports of Russian uranium and investing in domestic capacity will provide private industry with both the certainty and the incentives it needs to invest in the nuclear fuel supply chain,” he said.

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