Washington, D.C. – Tonight, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ (WA-05) Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act (H.R. 1042). This legislation would ban all imports of enriched uranium produced in Russia, which will send a strong signal to the market and encourage the investment needed to restore America’s nuclear fuel infrastructure.
In the United States today, nuclear plant operators rely on Russian enrichment for more than 20% of their reactor needs, although many have said they are seeking to end that reliance as soon as possible. The Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act would help end that dependence and promote American nuclear leadership and strengthen our energy security.
Chair Rodgers and Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) released the following statement after H.R. 1042 passed the House with a bipartisan voice vote.
“Today, nuclear fuel produced by Russia accounts for more than 20 percent of the fuel used by U.S. reactors. This has given Putin a dangerous amount of leverage over America’s energy security. H.R. 1042 will ban these fuel imports from Russia and help restore America’s nuclear leadership and fuel infrastructure. We’re proud to lead this effort and grateful for the support from our colleagues in the Senate, particularly Senator Barrasso. We hope the Senate will move swiftly to pass this important legislation so it is sent to the President’s desk to become law.”
Click here or the image above to watch Cathy’s remarks on the House floor this evening.
“I rise in support of my bill, H.R. 1042, the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Act, which I introduced with Mr. Latta.
“American leadership in nuclear energy and nuclear technology is critical to our economic and national security.”
STRENGTHENING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY
“One of the most urgent security threats America faces right now is our dangerous reliance on Russia’s supply of nuclear fuels for our nuclear fleet. This threat has intensified as a result of the war in Ukraine.
“American nuclear fuel infrastructure has been stunted by policies that Russia has exploited by flooding the U.S. market with its cheaper fuel.
“Today, that accounts for more than 20 percent of nuclear fuels for American reactors. Last year alone, our industry paid over $800 million to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom and its fuel subsidiaries.
“That number could be even higher this year and these resources are no doubt going towards funding Putin’s war efforts in Ukraine.
“Further, we’ve seen how Putin has weaponized Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas. There’s no reason to believe Russia wouldn’t do the same with our nuclear fuel supply, if Putin saw an opportunity. Rosatom has also supported China’s nuclear energy ambitions.
“The risks of continuing this dependence on Russia for our nuclear fuels are simply too great. It’s weakening America’s nuclear fuel infrastructure, which has declined significantly because of reliance on these cheap fuels.”
PHASING OUT RUSSIAN-SOURCED FUELS
“That’s why I am leading H.R. 1042.
“Our bill bans fuel imports from Russia and sends a strong signal to the market that will help restore American nuclear leadership and fuel infrastructure.
“Our legislation also provides waivers to cover any supply gaps leading up to 2028—at which point no more Russian fuel will be allowed to be imported into the U.S.
“This both protects any short-term needs of the industry and provides the long-term certainty necessary to build out American capacity, as well as European capacity that serves our markets.
“H.R. 1042 has bipartisan support from the Energy and Commerce Committee. It also has the support from the nuclear industry, the nuclear fuels industry, and policy advocates.
“Additionally, the Biden Administration has also stated that a ban on Russian fuels is necessary to advance our domestic fuel build out—including the fuels for advanced reactors.”
UNLEASHING AMERICAN NUCLEAR ENERGY
“Across Europe, utility providers are starting to transition away from Russian fuels, announce new capacity, and invest in plant projects. We are seeing important fuel processes returning online in the United States.
“For example, the uranium conversion facility in Metropolis Illinois has restarted operations for the first time in years. That facility alone could meet the domestic uranium conversion needs within two years, but only if they have assurances that cheap Russian fuel won’t undercut their business.
“The reality is, no facility owner is going to invest to expand production capacity without the certainty of long-term contracts for their products, and those long-term contracts from fuel customers—the utility companies—will not be written if there remains uncertainty about Russian fuel continuing to flow into the U.S. and the risk that Russia will once again be able to flood the market with cheaper products.
“H.R. 1042 provides those assurances to industry.
“American leadership in nuclear energy and nuclear technology is critical to our economic, energy, and national security, and a strong domestic nuclear fuels system—from mining to enrichment—is vital to our leadership.
“In the U.S. alone, nuclear energy provides nearly 20 percent of our electricity generation in the U.S.—all of which is emissions free.
“Nuclear plants operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, making them one of the most reliable, zero-carbon, baseload energy resources.
“H.R. 1042 will protect the short-term needs of the nuclear industry and provides the long-term certainty necessary to encourage investment and secure a durable domestic supply of fuel.
“I urge my colleagues to support the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Act – to restore our industry and take down Russia’s nuclear fuel empire.”
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