Here Are The Lawmakers Urging Trump To Slap Restrictions On Foreign Uranium

From The Daily Caller

Chris White Tech Reporter

July 12, 2019 2:00 PM ET

Republican lawmakers are urging President Donald Trump to impose steep quotas on uranium imported from Russia as critics say the U.S. is too dependent on foreign countries for fuel powering America’s electric grid.

Reps. Rob Bishop of Utah, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Matt Gaetz of Florida were among a handful Republicans asking Trump to set aside 25 percent of the U.S. uranium market for domestic production. Their request comes as the president considers whether to place quotas on imported uranium products.

“Our country’s growing dependence on foreign, state-owned sources of uranium is a threat to the national security and taking action to secure the domestic free market supply of this critical mineral is a national security imperative,” they said in a letter Thursday to the president.

Trump is facing a Saturday deadline to decide whether to impose quotas under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which gives the president authority to probe the national-security impact of imports and take action if necessary. The Commerce Department submitted the results of such an investigation in April to the White House.

The probe was prompted by a petition filed by two U.S. uranium mining companies, Ur-Energy Inc and Energy Fuels Inc, complaining that subsidized foreign competitors have caused them to cut capacity and lay off employees. (RELATED: Trump May Go Nuclear On Tariffs And Tax Uranium Imports)

A representative with the Western Caucus, which crafted and distributed the letter, says lawmakers are keeping tabs on the process.

“Congressmen Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs have long sounded the alarm on the dangers of America’s overreliance on foreign uranium,” Congressional Western Caucus spokesman Ben Goldey said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The Western Caucus is monitoring the Section 232 investigation closely, and we look forward to the results.”

Civilian nuclear power plants and U.S. Navy nuclear submarines rely on U.S. uranium, the production of which has plummeted since the 1980s, meaning more of it is coming from abroad. Trump, for his part, is targeting China’s uranium exports as he continues throttles the communist country’s trade practices.

The president is especially focusing on uranium (U-235) reactor components and machinery to separate isotopes. The U.S. gets a very small percentage of its uranium from China, so the tariffs in this area probably won’t have much effect.

What could upset the U.S. nuclear industry is retaliation from China, which is planning to build at least 100 nuclear plants through 2030 to reduce its reliance on coal power. China is largely dependent on foreign imports of uranium and equipment to build nuclear plants.

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29 thoughts on “Here Are The Lawmakers Urging Trump To Slap Restrictions On Foreign Uranium

  1. I wonder what tariffs will do to mostly authoritarian countries. Perhaps if the law was changed, and the tariff rate was set at the amount the uranium is being subsidized by the producing country, it might work.
    As far as the health of the uranium mining industry, the reduction of regulation and lawfare would have a much larger effect than any tariff plan.

  2. Wouldn’t it be great to get Russian uranium at a discounted price? We can store it until needed .. my bad, a half of it would decay in 4 billion years …

      • U S uranium is regarded as low grade. That’s why the rest of the world doesn’t want it.

        • Low grade is right, Tom. And in mining, grade is King.

          Most deposits in the US average about 0.2% U. In Canada and Australia the deposits are of a different type with average grades of 2-10% U. It is the higher grades of these deposits, and others in the not-so friendly world, that have changed the economics of U mining and driven the US producers out of business. Asking for protection for US producers for strategic minerals is not a new idea. In the 1950’s the US set the price it would pay for U to stimulate production, and it did. When the AEC determined they had amassed a sufficient stockpile, they removed the price support, and U mining in the US crashed in 1958. But the Canadian producers are doing quite well now, and we should beef up our strategic stockpiles with friendly U while the price is low.

      • The numbers support your comment.

        Interesting that Canada produces 22 percent of the world total.

        Canada or Australia would supply the US first if there was a conflict or shortage.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_uranium_production

        Rank Country/Region Uranium production (2017) Percentage of World Total

        1 Kazakhstan 23,321, 39.2
        2 Canada 25,434, 22.1
        3 Australia 15,339 9.9
        4 Namibia 11,689, 7.1
        5 Niger 10,914, 5.8
        6 Russia 2,917, 4.9
        7 Uzbekistan 2,404[3] 6,239 4.0
        8 China China 1,885[3] 2,150 3.2
        9 United States 940 4,316 1.6

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_uranium_reserves

        This is estimated uranium reserves by country
        Australia 1,780,800
        Kazakhstan 941,600
        Canada 703,600
        Namibia 463,000
        South Africa 449,300
        Niger 411,300
        Russia 395,200
        Brazil 276,800
        China 272,500 ]
        Greenland 228,000
        Ukraine 220,700
        Mongolia 141,500
        India 138,700
        United States 138,200

        • Good post.
          Australia has the largest reserves of uranium.
          https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/australia.aspx
          It also has rare earths associated with these mines.
          https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-rareearths-australia/australian-rare-earth-miners-push-development-deals-to-counter-china-grip-idUSKCN1TF0LO
          However the US does not see this as a problem that Australia will fix.

          ‘Arafura and fellow miner Alkane Resources met with U.S. defense officials as part of an Australian trade delegation in February but returned empty handed, executives from both companies said.’

        • Note that moratoriums on exploration depress reserve figures below what they might otherwise be. British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Quebec all have moratoriums on uranium (and thorium) exploration and mining. In BC I know there is considerable potential, and if the moratorium were lifted Canada’s reserves would very quickly be higher.

          • The Canadian uranium reserves do not include the uranium that is in their Athabasca heavy oil reserves.

            Oil contains heavy metals with the amount of heavy metal, including the valuable metal uranium increasing as the density of the oil and viscosity of the oil goes up which is a paradox for the Fossil Theory as the origin of oil, bituminous coal, and natural gas.

            The viscosity and density of the oil increases when the oil contains less hydrogen and becomes more asphalt like.

            The Canadian Athabasca heavy oil deposit is contained in three reserves which cover the area of the UK and contain 1.5 trillion barrels of oil (conventional oil reserves is 1.2 trillion barrel)l, 30% of which is recoverable using the Cenovus recovery technique.

            Bituminous Coal also contains heavy metals including uranium.

            https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste/
            https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0360544277900433

            Coal Ash Is More Radioactive Than Nuclear Waste

            Evidence exists that much of the coal in the Western United States contains an appreciable amount of uranium. While not concentrated enough to be directly considered as a uranium resource, this uranium is enriched in the ash remaining after the coal is burned.

            https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0360544277900433

            Consequently, some coal ashes have concentrations of uranium which would classify them as intermediate-grade uranium ores (100–500 ppm).

            The fact that there is heavy metals in both heavy oil and coal is a paradox for the Fossil Fuel origin of the hydrocarbons on the surface of the earth.

            A Mars size object struck the earth 100 million years after the earth’s formation. The energy from that impact formed the moon, heated the surface of earth to 700C, and caused a large amount of the heavy metals to sink the core.

            The puzzle is why are there concentration of heavy metals on the surface of the earth?

            The original theory to explain existence of heavy metals on the surface of the earth has the so called late heavy bombardment which was based on the assumption that there was another Mars size object that broke up to form the asteroid belt and some of metal from that Mar size object struck the earth after the first Mars size object.

            That heavy late bombardment theory is dead as there it has been confirmed analysis of meteorite fragments that show no evidence of the core of Mars size object.

            The late heavy oil bombardment theory also cannot explain why oil and natural gas all have helium in them which is caused by the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium deposits that are below the oil and natural gas deposits.

  3. Didn’t {shall remain nameless} sell (give) a big chunk of US uranium capacity to Russia?

    • As I recall it was approved the sale in exchange for a sizable kickback. But yes, how much of the uranium would have come from the US to start with?

    • Robert Mueller also signed off on the Uranium One deal. Just about all the top officials in the Obama administration signed off on it.

      I think all that stuff is being investigated right now, and the Uranium One deal had an FBI mole planted right in the middle of the whole deal, and this mole made numerous records, written and recorded, of who was bribing who and other interesting information, and although Mueller seems to have forgotten about him, the new U.S. Attorney General has not, and the mole also has a very capable attorney who vows she will make everything he has on the Obama administration public.

      The hammer is going to drop on at least some in the Obama administration soon. It doesn’t appear that the perpetrators made a big effort to cover their tracks. They probably thought Hillary was going to win and then they wouldn’t have to worry about any illegality they had been involved in. It would be a career enhancement in a Hillary Clinton administration

  4. Is this serious? Russia produces 5% of the worlds Uranium. Why are they even talking about it?

  5. Uranium reserves by Country:
    (2015 estimated reserves in metric tonnes at $260/kg U)

    1. Australia 1,780,800
    2. Kazakhstan 941,600
    3. Canada 703,600
    4. Namibia 463,000
    5. South Africa 449,300
    6. Niger 411,300
    7. Russia 395,200
    8. Brazil 276,800
    9. China 272,500
    10. Greenland 228,000
    11. Ukraine 220,700
    12. Mongolia 141,500
    13. India 138,700
    14. United States 138,200
    15. Uzbekistan 130,100
    16. Czech Republic 119,300
    (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_uranium_reserves)

    China looks at Australia, and all it sees is minerals it needs for 1.3 billion of its people. But a strong continued alliance between US and Australia will ensure US access to Australian large uranium reserves at market prices, and a mutual defence treaty.
    This is just one of many reasons these Communist Chinese need to see the US commit economic and energy suicide. If the GreenSlime/GreenBlob successfully uses propaganda to eliminate our nuclear power plants, and weaken on economic power via fossil fuel restrictions, that will diminish our military capacity and power projection around the world. Then China can walk in and take what they want from Australia, an Australia with 1/50th the population that has no nuclear weapons, and a then US foreign policy disengaged from Asia-Western Pacific.

    Continued friendship and alliances with Australia is a vital US national security interest. And one that depends on a strong US economy in order to maintain military power to protect those interests and aid in the defence of Australia against any aggressors well into the next century.

    • Once Obama’s US debt has bankrupted the US (in about 10-20 years max), China + India + Indonesia will form a agreement to “take” 70% of Australia without a shot being fired.
      90% of Australians live within 500km of the east cost. They will allow us to keep that 30% of the country where most of us live, and they will take the rest. They will then have all the resources they need.
      Who’s going to stop them – they represent 1/2 the world’s population.

  6. Not to worry. In South Oz we live in the Saudi Arabia of uranium. How much would you like as we don’t use it because of the usual suspects.

  7. Australia is a major uranium miner – and there the processing stops.
    For reasons never fully disclosed, Australian politics have prevented the further, customary processing even to fluoridation let alone even mild enrichment.
    Our new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has been invited by President Trump to a State Dinner later this year.
    How neat it would be to announce joint development proposals on Australian soil. I shall suggest this to ScoMo later this week. Geoff S

    • “For reasons never fully disclosed”
      Well like asking a politicians if they’ve ever smoked weed the required answer is we did (mine) but we never inhaled (nuclear power).

  8. How much uranium does the world need? I’m not familiar with the science, but it seems as if uranium (and others) are transformed rather than consumed. So is there a real possibility of a shortage?

  9. Aren’t these the same guys who have been crying that we need to leave our oil in the ground and import it instead?

  10. Wait! The blending down of Soviet weapons over the last several years has destroyed the enrichment market. We do not at the present time have any domestic capability to enrich uranium other than Centrus which is on federal life support. To use uranium in a water moderated reactor you need enriched uranium at 3-4% u235. No matter how much uranium ore at 0.72% we can get our hands on without the enrichment services we’re still vulnerable to foreign whims.

    It’s more than just this mineral that at stake.

  11. Any lawmaker who thinks that such dependence is not a threat to national security is unfit for public service.

  12. Typical stupid & destructive Republican/Trumpian mindset today. using fake national security “emergencies” to justify stupid trade-killing protectionism, which is bad for America and bad for American national security. Same as used for illegally and unconstitutionally stealing national defense dollars to fund his stupid “wall” that the American people last November and both houses of Congress voted this spring to not fund, after lying to his stupid supporters that Mexico would pay for his racist wall.

    There is zero lack of uranium. We don’t need any uranium supplies beyond what is easily and cheaply available today and for the foreseeable future, for both US naval reactors as well as commercial power plants.

    Thanks God, January 20, 2021 is not that far off, and sanity will return to the White House again.

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