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With congressional efforts to pass a potential ban on Russian uranium imports stalled, elements of the White House have started working on executive action to enact restrictions. Imposing this ban is required for the Department of Energy to unlock $2.7 billion in funding for the development of facilities that produce high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) which will fuel next-gen small modular reactors (SMR). Russia is currently the sole commercial supplier of HALEU, and the source for a quarter of all enriched uranium utilized by the US’s fleet of nuclear power plants.

If the western world continues to embrace nuclear power, a continued reliance on Russia to fulfill a large share of its uranium demand poses a significant risk factor to global energy markets. Russia’s state-owned uranium giant, Rosatom, raked in over $800 million in revenue from US customers last year, despite its direct involvement in Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine. An eventual US ban on Russian uranium imports could keep North American supplies relatively tight.

Related ETFs: Sprott Uranium Miners ETF (URNM), Global X Uranium ETF (URA)

Though congressional efforts to pass a US ban on Russian uranium imports have stalled since  The Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act passed the House of Representatives in late 2023, President Biden’s White House is reportedly preparing to pursue the matter via executive authority. Per Bloomberg, officials from the White House National Security Council, the Department of Energy and other corners of the administration have been in talks on limiting Russian uranium imports. An eventual signature from the President, whether in the form of legislation or executive order, would likely represent a significant disruption and may have a material impact on the prices US nuclear power generators will need to pay for the yellow metal.

Though S&P Commodity insights previously confirmed that the legislation had support among a group of bipartisan legislators in the Senate early this year, it was held up by budget negotiations that were only settled late last month. There have been no indications that it would be tacked on as a component to a more encompassing bill headed for a floor vote anytime soon. MRP first highlighted the prospective US ban on Russian uranium imports last August, noting that disproportionate western reliance on uranium output from conflict zones like Russia and Niger is a major risk to the flow of supplies to nuclear power plants and often rewards the US’s geopolitical adversaries with revenue and a strategic grip on international energy markets.

In the case of Russia, the US relied on Russian supplies for about 24% of its enriched uranium demand 2022 – making it the US’s top foreign supplier for the year. Part of that is simply due to the scale of Russia’s state-owned uranium giant, Rosatom, which claims to lead the world in uranium enrichment and rank third in uranium production and fuel fabrication. The White House had previously…

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