Those Russian Sanctions

The big push these days is for a cleaner energy and the dash toward nuclear power is growing in anticipation.

For this renewed interest will take uranium and this is where this post picks up….

Remember when the Ukraine invasion started and the US and its allies first attack was to put massive sanctions in place to punish the invader.

What about all the uranium that the west gets from Russia for its nuclear programs?

Many world powers have sped-up plans to introduce new nuclear power plants in a bid to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and decarbonise. Due to the high energy demand, many countries around the globe view renewable energy as insufficient in the mid-term to provide enough energy to meet the needs of the growing world population. However, nuclear power could provide a low-carbon alternative, offering abundant energy and low emissions. However, experts now worry that the global reliance on Russian uranium to power many of these projects could put many world leaders in a quandary, having already introduced sanctions on Russian energy and attempted to reduce their reliance on Russia.  Earlier this year, the U.S. announced a $6 billion bailout for its existing nuclear plants. The government and the Department of Energy (DoE) partnered on a scheme to help nuclear plants across the country facing severe economic challenges to support the longevity of U.S. nuclear power, as part of the country’s green transition. Despite being controversial, nuclear power is considered carbon neutral, and therefore key to transitioning away from fossil fuels. Since then, the launch of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has encouraged greater investment in the nuclear energy sector. It offers a variety of subsidies, including a production tax credit to help preserve the existing fleet of nuclear plants and tax incentives for the development of new nuclear reactors.  

While developing its nuclear assets demonstrates a step forward in the movement to carbon neutrality, the U.S. has one very big challenge to overcome for its nuclear power plants to be a success – its reliance on Russian uranium. The type of uranium that U.S. nuclear reactors require to run is only sold commercially by one company in the world, a subsidiary of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM). At present, U.S. nuclear firms buy around half of the uranium they use from state-owned companies in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. Scott Melbye, Executive Vice President at Uranium Energy Corp., stated “We estimate that there is more than $1 billion in annual U.S. dollar purchases of nuclear fuel flowing to ROSATOM.” 

(oilprice.com)

As usual these sanctions are not as sweeping and all inclusive as they would have you believe.

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