U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., applauded the Department of Commerce for initiating an investigation into whether imports of foreign uranium, especially from Russia and nations under its influence, are a national security risk.
During a hearing in June, Enzi pressed Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross to immediately initiate an investigation, noting that America’s continued reliance on foreign uranium could threaten the nation’s ability to maintain nuclear weapons and put large parts of the power grid under the indirect influence of foreign powers.
The department’s investigation could result in tariffs, quotas or other protections for the U.S. uranium mining industry.
“A robust domestic uranium mining industry is not only critical for national security, it’s essential for Wyoming’s economy,” Enzi said. “Wyoming is the largest producer of uranium and it’s important our trade policies promote a global level playing field and discourage market manipulation by foreign adversaries. This appears to be a prime example of foreign countries threatening our national security through unfair trade practices.”
A recent report found that domestic uranium comprised only 7 percent of the total uranium delivered to civilian nuclear power reactors in America. Russia is suspected of improperly lowering the price of its uranium to attract U.S. utility buyers. Energy Fuels and UR Energy, two uranium companies with business in Wyoming, filed the Section 232 petition to the U.S. Department of Commerce asking for the investigation.