Chairman says relying on Vladimir Putin and his satellites to supply America with uranium is dangerous and unacceptable

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released the following statement on the Trump administration’s final decision regarding its Section 232 investigation into whether uranium imports into the United States threaten to impair U.S. national security. U.S. Senator John Barrasso previously joined with American uranium producers calling for the Commerce Department to conduct the investigation.

“The decision by the Trump administration is a missed opportunity to protect America’s uranium producers,” said Barrasso. “Uranium producers, including those in my home state of Wyoming, deserve to compete on a level playing field. Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan have unfairly undermined America’s uranium producers for years. In their investigation, the Commerce Department correctly concluded that uranium imports are not just a matter of energy security; they are a matter of national security. America should not rely on Vladimir Putin and his satellites to supply our uranium. It’s dangerous and unacceptable. I will continue to fight for America’s uranium producers as the president’s Nuclear Fuel Working Group begins its assessment of the entire nuclear fuel chain.”

Background Information:

On Jan. 16, 2018, American uranium producers Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy jointly submitted a petition for relief, under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, to the Commerce Department to investigate the effects of uranium imports, from foreign state-owned firms, on America’s national security. Barrasso led congressional efforts pressing for the investigation.

On Feb. 8, 2018, Barrasso authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled, “America’s Self-Imposed Uranium Shortage,” where he called on the Trump administration to take action against foreign state-owned uranium producers importing into the United States.

In the piece, Barrasso wrote, “The administration should also take action against state-owned and state-subsidized producers in Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. These nations are unfairly flooding the U.S. with cheap uranium, as they are interested in gaining political leverage over the U.S. Two American uranium producers recently petitioned the Commerce Department to investigate these abuses. The Trump administration should expedite this investigation and take steps to make sure our uranium producers can compete on a level playing field.”

On March 21, 2018, at a Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works oversight hearing of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Barrasso called for the Commerce Department to begin an investigation into uranium imports. Barrasso also questioned NRC Chair Kristine Svinicki on the importance of uranium production to America’s national security.

On July 12, 2018, at a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing, Barrasso called on the administration to initiate a section 232 investigation into uranium imports. Testifying before the committee was Manisha Singh, assistant secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.