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Geopolitical Risks Loom Large Over Oil Markets

Geopolitical Risks Loom Large Over Oil Markets

Geopolitical risks are looming large…

U.S. Senate Approves Bill to Ban Russian Uranium Imports

The U.S. Senate unanimously voted in favor of a bill that would ban the imports of Russian uranium as the latest attempt to squeeze Russia’s export revenues amid its ongoing war on Ukraine.

If the Senate had not passed the legislation, the White House was considering an executive order to the same effect.

Russia is the second-biggest supplier of uranium for U.S. nuclear reactors, after local producers. Imports of Russian uranium account for 24% of the total, making a complete elimination of these supplies rather challenging.

However, the import ban legislation contains waivers to make sure nuclear reactors have enough fuel, Reuters noted in a report on the news.

"The risks of continuing this dependence on Russia for our nuclear fuels are simply too great," Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers said, as quoted by Reuters. "It's weakening America's nuclear fuel infrastructure, which has declined significantly because of reliance on these cheap fuels."

Plans are to step up local production and enriching of uranium to reduce dependence on imports, with one senator noting Wyoming was a top candidate for future uranium supplies for U.S. nuclear reactors.

"Wyoming has the uranium to replace Russian imports, and we're ready to use it," John Barrasso from the Senate Energy Committee said. Wyoming is his home state. "Our bipartisan legislation will help defund Russia's war machine, revive American uranium production, and jumpstart investments in America's nuclear fuel supply chain," Barrasso added.

Following the news of the uranium vote in the Senate, uranium prices jumped in anticipation of a supply squeeze. The replacement of Russian enriched uranium with alternative supply could lift costs by as much as 20%, according to a Bloomberg report.

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Currently, nuclear power plants in the United States spend around $1 billion annually on Russian uranium imports—a bill that would swell considerably after the ban, if the Bloomberg calculations are accurate.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on May 01 2024 said:
    The US Senate can add more sanctions on Russia but it is futile.

    Russia’s energy exports including uranium fuel are flourishing with Russia finding new markets for its exports.

    In fact Russia’s economy is in a far better shape than the economies of Western countries who imposed sanctions on Russia.

    Russia’s economy grew in the first quarter of 2024 by 3.6% and is projected to grow this year 3.2% compared with 2.0%-2.5% for the United States and 0.8% for the EU.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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