The House Energy and Commerce Committee, under the leadership of Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), advanced H.R. 1042, the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act, in a markup session on Thursday.
The bill, introduced last month by Rodgers and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), Chair of the E&C Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, seeks to ban fuel imports from Russia in a bid to decrease America's dependence on Russian nuclear fuels.
According to the Energy Information Agency, owner and operators of U.S. nuclear power reactors purchased the equivalent of roughly 47 million pounds of uranium in 2021, 35 percent from Kazakhstan, 15 percent from Canada, and 14 percent from both Australia and Russia.
"Nuclear is a key part of our energy mix and right now America is dangerously reliant upon Russia’s supply of nuclear fuels for our existing nuclear power plant fleet," Rodgers said in a statement. "My legislation... sends a strong signal to the market that will help restore American nuclear leadership and fuel infrastructure.”
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, was among those who endorsed the legislation and instrduces S.763 a companion measure in the senate.
"Every dollar we give to Russia supports Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine,” said Barrasso. “America’s nuclear industry is ready to transition away from Russian uranium. Wyoming has the resources we need to boost production at home. The first step is permanently removing all Russian energy, including uranium, from the American marketplace. By banning Russian uranium imports, we can further defund Russia’s war machine, help revive American uranium production, and increase our national security.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need for American energy independence in the face of geopolitical tensions.
“Russia’s invasion completely changed the way natural gas and oil are bought and sold around the world, and the potential for even more supply disruptions—this time to our nuclear energy supply chain—is only increasing," Manchin stated. "This bill would help ensure that American nuclear energy companies aren’t reliant on Russian imported uranium fuel and send a strong message to the world that the United States doesn’t need to rely on Putin for the materials we need to power our country.”
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