Jul 12, 2019

Trump won't issue quotas on domestic uranium

Photo: Calla Kessler/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump is poised to announce within the next day that he is not going to issue quotas on domestic uranium production, according to multiple people familiar with the decision.

Driving the news: This move is a win for U.S. nuclear companies that use uranium as fuel and for countries that export a lot of uranium to the U.S., including Canada and Australia. It’s a loss for two U.S. uranium producers with operations in the West.

Where it stands: The two companies, Ur-Energy and Energy Fuels, cited national security concerns when they asked the Commerce Department to impose a 25% quota for domestic uranium. Right now that figure is just 7%.

The big picture: This is a departure from Trump's wide-ranging trade agenda that's pushed protectionist measures on foreign steel, solar panels and more.

Yes, but: The decision, stemming from a Commerce Department investigation, is expected to be more nuanced. The top line finding is "a no action" determination.

For the record: A White House spokesman declined to comment. A request for comment sent to the Commerce Department wasn't immediately answered. Trump's deadline to issue a decision is Saturday.

Go deeper: Nuclear energy pulled into Trump's trade wars

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Iran nuclear deal crisis talks held amid U.S.-Tehran tension

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi (2nd L) after talks in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Diplomats from Iran, Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union recommitted Sunday to saving Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal after "constructive" talks in Vienna, a senior Iranian official said, according to AP.

Why it matters: The talks come at a time of heightened tension between the West and Iran, after the U.S. withdrew from the deal and hit Tehran with sanctions. Hours before the talks, the U.S. and Israel said they tested a missile defense system in Alaska. The goal is to intercept long-range missiles from Iran, Barak Ravid writes for Axios.

What they're saying: Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi told reporters after that while not every issue was resolved, those present were "determined to save this deal," per AP.

The big picture: The United Nations' nuclear watchdog confirmed this month that Iran has followed through on its threat to enrich uranium beyond the purity limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal.

What's next: There was a general agreement at Sunday's talks to organize a higher-level meeting of foreign ministers soon, though no date had been set, according to AP.

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Keep ReadingArrowJul 29, 2019

2020 Democrats punt on Trump's China tariffs

Photo: Teh Eng Koon/AFP via Getty Images

None of the leading Democratic presidential contenders said they would immediately drop President Trump's tariffs on China if elected president, despite criticizing his moves against Beijing as reckless.

Driving the news: Axios asked each campaign whether they would get rid of the tariffs on day 1, and none gave a clear answer. The campaigns said they would either leave the existing tariffs in place or conduct a review of the tariff policy upon entering office.

Go deeperArrowJul 28, 2019

Bill Gates faces "daunting" nuclear energy future

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The optimism usually radiating from billionaire Bill Gates when it comes to climate change is starting to fade on one of his biggest technology bets: nuclear power.

Driving the news: The Microsoft co-founder has focused much of his time lately on climate change and energy innovation. In an exclusive interview with Axios, Gates said that setbacks he is facing with TerraPower, a nuclear technology firm he co-founded in 2006, has got him questioning the future of that entire energy source.

Go deeperArrowJul 15, 2019