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US senate committee approves uranium reserve bill

The US senate committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) has approved a bipartisan bill called the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act (ANIA) that, among other provisions, advances the federal initiative to establish a US national strategic uranium reserve.

Under the Act, the US Department of Energy will be restricted to only buy uranium recovered from facilities licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or equivalent agreement state agencies as of the date of enactment.

Uranium from companies owned, controlled or subject to jurisdictions in Russia or China are excluded from participating in the programme.

Each fiscal year beginning after the date of enactment, the secretary will request from congress amounts for the acquisition, transportation and storage of uranium in the reserve, or provide an explanation of why amounts are not requested to accomplish this.

The bill gives the energy secretary 60 days from enactment to establish the reserve.

In announcing the bill, Republican senator John Barrasso said the ANIA would promote US international leadership, preserve America’s nuclear fuel supply chain, prevent more carbon emissions from entering our atmosphere, and it would protect US economic, energy, and national security.

Uranium Energy Corp welcomed the development, with CEO Amir Adnani the legislation provides a “clear path” to implementing the uranium reserve.

“The bipartisan ANIA is broad-reaching legislation. [It will] provide … a strong platform to revitalise the US uranium industry,” he said.

Back in February, US president Donald Trump proposed setting aside US$150 million in the 2021 budget to create the uranium reserve.

Trump signed two bills into law which sped up the development of advanced nuclear reactors and streamlined the permitting processes. But in 2019, he refused to countenance import quotas or endorse a Buy American policy for federal entities needing to purchase the material.

In April, the US government committed to buy 17-19 million pounds of uranium on the domestic market this year in pursuit of establishing a strategic uranium reserve.

Source: Mining Journal