IAEA Criticizes US Bill on Russian Uranium Imports

Grossi: “Russia is one of the world's most important, if not the most important, supplier of enriched uranium and nuclear fuel”

Rafael Grossi

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expects the US bill on a possible ban on imports of enriched uranium from Russia to contain “numerous exceptions.” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency that “obviously this is a sovereign decision of the USA.” At the same time, the IAEA director emphasized that “Russia is one of the most important, if not the most important, supplier of enriched uranium and nuclear fuel.”

“It is my understanding that this bill will include many exemptions, so it is possible that the initial impact (on markets) will be very limited. “We’ll see if legislation is passed, but at the moment it’s not,” said Grossi, according to whom “at the moment, it’s very difficult to replace Russian supplies of enriched uranium and other fuels for nuclear power plants.”

Following House approval in December 2023, the US Senate also approved the bill (HR 1042) on April 30 that would ban imports from Russia of low-enriched uranium through 2040. The bill has been forwarded to President Joe Biden for signing. However, the lawmakers’ initiative gave the trio, comprising the US energy secretary, the secretary of state, and the head of the US Commerce Department, the power to lift the ban if “other sources of supply prove unavailable” or if imports from Russia “would serve US national interests.”

Meanwhile, Centrus, the largest nuclear fuel trading company in the USA, said that if the controversial law does go into effect, it will ask the competent government authorities to limit the “range of action” of the prohibitive measure to continue to meet the growing demand of the US nuclear power industry. Let’s recall that Niger, one of the world’s largest uranium producers, has severed relations with Washington and ordered the withdrawal of the US military contingent from the African country.