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Senate passes Russian uranium ban

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Apr 30, 2024
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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Senate this evening passed the Russian uranium ban bill, sending it to President Biden's desk after a lengthy delay.

Why it matters: The legislation could shake up the nuclear power industry's fuel supply — but it also opens up billions in funding for domestic production of enriched uranium.

  • The U.S. spends an estimated $1 billion per year on nuclear fuel from Russia.

Driving the news: The Senate passed the bill — the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act — by unanimous consent.

  • It has broad bipartisan support and already passed the House.
  • But Sen. Ted Cruz held up quick passage in the Senate for months over an unrelated policy dispute.

Context: The first spending bill signed into law this year included $2.7 billion in reprogrammed money for enriched uranium supply.

  • But that money was contingent on enactment of a ban on imports from Russia, currently the world's largest supplier.
  • The bill that just passed allows reactor operators to continue importing from Russia until 2028 if they don't have another viable supplier.
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