Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act Unlocks $2.72 Billion for U.S. Uranium Market

3 minute read | May.21.2024

President Biden has signed into law an act intended to reduce U.S. reliance on Russian uranium imports and develop the domestic market to support the growing U.S. nuclear power generation industry.

The Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act enacts the following:

  • Bans U.S. imports from Russia of unirradiated low-enriched uranium (LEU) beginning August 13, 2024, subject to potential waivers the DOE may issue through January 1, 2028.
  • Unlocks $2.72 billion to stimulate U.S. LEU production, including $700 million targeted to high-assay LEU (HALEU)—an important source of fuel for the next generation of nuclear reactors.

Congress conditioned the $2.72 billion as part of the Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, which authorized releasing the money upon a U.S. ban of Russian uranium imports.

Passed with bipartisan support in Congress, the stated purpose of the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act is to reduce U.S. reliance on Russian uranium imports, which account for about 12% of uranium purchased in the United States, and to promote U.S. LEU production.

The act allows for waivers under a process the Department of Energy reportedly plans to formalize in the next 30 days.

Prohibition on Russian LEU Imports and Availability of Waivers

The act amends the USEC Privatization Act to prohibit the import of unirradiated LEU produced in Russia or by a Russian entity. The ban begins August 13, 2024. It also applies to uranium that has been exchanged, swapped or otherwise obtained in a manner intended to circumvent previous restrictions.

The act addresses concerns of LEU consumers and suppliers regarding the quick severance of an important source of LEU and the time needed to fully develop the domestic market. It allows for waivers until January 1, 2028.

The Secretary of Energy, with the Secretary of State and Secretary of Commerce, may issue waivers to allow companies to import specified quantities of LEU if:

  • No alternative LEU sources exist to sustain operations of a U.S. company’s nuclear reactor; or
  • Importing such uranium is in the nation’s best interest.

In response to questions from industry participants regarding the waiver process, DOE officials have indicated they are prepared to adjudicate waiver claims reasonably.

$2.72 Billion of Stimulus to Develop the U.S. Low-Enriched Uranium Market

The act authorizes allocation of the previously apportioned $2.72 billion to support the U.S. LEU market, including $700 million Congress included in the Inflation Reduction Act to research, develop and produce HALEU.

  • HALEU is the fuel planned for many of the next generation small modular reactors.
  • The only material domestic HALEU manufacturing infrastructure in the United States is with early-stage projects.
  • Recent legislation allocates funds to the Department of Energy to partner with the private sector to support building HALEU capabilities.

The $700 million includes: $100 million to research, develop and demonstrate the commercial use of HALEU; $500 million to produce HALEU; and $100 million for financial assistance to design and license transportation packages for HALEU.

Section 201 of the Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriation Act provides for $2.72 billion to implement the Nuclear Fuel Security Act of 2023. That law:


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If you have questions about these developments, please feel free to contact the authors, Jonathan Ayre, Harry Clark, Josh Pollick, Montana Ware and Tyler Bridgeman.