US to start buying up to $2.7 billion in domestic nuclear reactor fuel


June 28, 2024

The U.S. is bidding to eventually buy up to $2.7 billion of domestically-supplied enriched uranium, in an effort to boost the supply chain for the nuclear reactor fuel and steer the country away from buying it from Russia, the Energy Department said on Thursday.

The $2.7 billion in funding was unleashed by legislation, signed by President Joe Biden in May, that also imposed a ban on imports of enriched uranium from Russia, as part of sanctions on the country for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia, the world's top seller of enriched uranium, had been supplying about 24 percent of the fuel used by U.S. reactors.

The Department of Energy plans to award two or more contracts, which will last for up to 10 years, depending on the availability of funding. The sources can include new enrichment facilities or projects that expand the capacity of existing enrichment facilities. The move could benefit Centrus Energy and Urenco, a British and Dutch, German company with operations in New Mexico. Proposals are due on August 26.

"DOE is helping jumpstart uranium enrichment capacity here in the United States, which is critical to strengthening our national security and growing our domestic nuclear industry," said U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Lindsey Geisler, a spokesperson for Centrus, said: "This request for proposal is a critical step toward restoring America’s nuclear fuel supply chain with U.S. technology built by American workers. We look forward to submitting a compelling and competitive proposal to do just that."

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Diane Craft) 


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