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Biden signs bill banning U.S. imports of Russian uranium

U.S. President Joe Biden (L) is pictured at the White House in Washington, D.C., the United States, on May 13, 2024. U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law Monday a bill that will prohibit U.S. imports of unirradiated low-enriched uranium from Russia. (Photo by Aaron Schwartz/Xinhua)

WASHINGTON | Xinhua | U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law Monday a bill that will prohibit U.S. imports of unirradiated low-enriched uranium from Russia.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement that Biden signed the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act, which is aimed at “reducing, and ultimately eliminating, our reliance on Russia for civilian nuclear power.”

Having already been passed in the House and the Senate, the bill stipulates that 90 days after its enactment, unirradiated low-enriched uranium produced in Russia or by a Russian entity may not be imported to the United States. Enriched uranium is the main fuel used by nuclear power plants.

The bill will provide waivers until Jan. 1, 2028 for utilities having to shut down nuclear reactors due to the cutoff of Russian uranium supply.

It also frees up 2.72 billion U.S. dollars in federal funding that Congress recently appropriated, according to Sullivan, who said the money will be used to “jumpstart new enrichment capacity in the United States.”

U.S. companies pay around 1 billion dollars per year for enriched uranium from Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear power conglomerate, according to The Washington Post.

The paper said in a report that the newly enacted law intends to “cut off one of the last significant flows of money from the United States to Russia” amid the latter’s conflict with Ukraine. ■

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