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Nuclear power facilities and uranium are becoming deeply enveloped in the struggle for global influence and diplomatic might that is now being waged by the US and a key geopolitical adversary in Russia. After the initiation of a US ban on the import of Russian uranium products, Moscow is re-orienting the routes by which it will ship its nuclear fuels. The country aggressively shifted flows of fossil fuel supplies eastward after its war in Ukraine turned away western buyers and now Russia will look to create new markets for refined uranium in Central Asia, where it will assist in building the region’s first nuclear power plant. 

Russia is also consolidating its hold on what allies it still has on the periphery of the European continent, as Belarus will now assist in the construction of a Rosatom-backed nuclear power facility in Hungary. The next frontier in this growing tug-of-war will soon shift to Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom seeks a partner to help deploy a civilian nuclear program. All of this is occurring just as Japan prepares to fire up the world’s largest nuclear power plant for the first time since 2011.

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

The nuclear power renaissance that has been unfolding throughout the world for several years is now blooming a new race for influence in deploying a crop of new reactors across the world. Though a renewed interest in nuclear power stretches back beyond the initiation of Russia’s formal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, this event sent shockwaves across global energy markets and reshaped global shipments of oil and natural gas. Not only did it serve as a stark reminder of how significant nuclear power can be in bolstering power grids in the face of geopolitical upheaval, but it has gradually frozen the flow of energy products from Russia to the west. Though it has taken longer to reach uranium than other commodities, the building East-West tensions are beginning to envelop the yellow metal as well.

Last month, President Biden signed  The Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act, which will initiate the phase-in of a ban on the import of Russian Uranium to the US. Though some waivers will be available until 2028, the ban will then be in full effect until 2040. MRP first highlighted the progress of this legislation last August, before it had even been passed the House of Representatives. We 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 rolled out a spate of sanctions against Rosatom subsidiaries, but this appears to have done little to halt imports of Russian uranium thus far. In 2023 alone, the US nuclear industry paid over $800 million to Rosatom, and its fuel subsidiaries. The bill also unlocked $2.7 billion in repurposed funding for domestic production of high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU), which was…

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