US president Donald Trump’s 2021 budget has proposed the creation of a US uranium reserve at a cost of $150m in an effort to challenge the global expansion of nuclear power development by Chinese and Russian companies, said Reuters.
The money, if approved by Congress, would begin the process of purchasing uranium, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told reporters.
Brouillette said Trump “… has decided that we’re going to meet them anywhere that they go around the world, and this … is the very first step that we will take to put the US back into this competitive game”.
US uranium mining firms, as well as more than two dozen western state lawmakers, have argued that nuclear generators rely heavily on adversaries including Russia, China and Kazakhstan for uranium supply from their state-owned companies, which flood the market.
The budget, largely a political document that serves as a starting point for negotiations with Congress, did not outline where the reserve would be built, said Reuters.
The US nuclear energy industry is suffering from high safety costs and low prices for natural gas, a competitor in generating electricity. Since 2013, nearly 10 nuclear power plants have been closed and eight more are scheduled to shut in coming years.
Mark Chalmers, president and CEO of Colorado based Energy Fuels Resources said a reserve would “… preserve our strategic capacity to produce uranium for national security purposes”.