WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department
on Monday inked a draft agreement with Russia's state nuclear
energy company to reduce imports of uranium from Russia over the
next 20 years in a bid to boost domestic mining and nuclear
The Commerce Department and Rosatom initialed the draft
amendment to the 1992 Russian Suspension Agreement to prevent
dumping, extending that deal to the year 2040 and gradually
reduce the amount of uranium the U.S. imports from Russia for
enrichment from 20% to 15% starting in 2028.
“If finalized, it will contribute to the restoration of
America’s nuclear energy advantage and protect the domestic
industry from dumped Russian uranium,” said Commerce Secretary
The draft amendment was one of the recommendations made by
the interagency Nuclear Fuel Working Group to address concern in
Washington that the United States has ceded its global
leadership in nuclear technology, and to boost domestic nuclear
power producers and uranium miners suffering from a lack of
The amendment would let U.S. companies that have existing
uranium purchase contracts with Russia keep them in tact.
One U.S. uranium miner said that by allowing for the
"grandfathering" of those contracts, the amendment may not help
the struggling industry in the short term.
" will actually result in Russian uranium imports into
the U.S. increasing during the next three years, before
decreasing in the mid 2020s," said Mark Chalmers, chief
executive of Energy Fuels.
He said that a more effective measure for the industry would
be to set up a federal Strategic Uranium Reserve, another
recommendation of the nuclear fuel working group.
U.S. President Donald Trump created the working group last
July after rejecting a request by Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy Inc
, seeking quotas for domestic uranium production to
protect them against foreign competition.
The Commerce Department aims to finalize the amendment by
Oct. 5 and will take comment on it until Sept. 28.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici
Editing by Marguerita Choy)