US Department of Energy Outlines Waiver Process for Russian Uranium Import Ban

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has released a draft Federal Register notice detailing the process for evaluating requests for waivers on the ban of Russian enriched uranium imports, according to a report from S&P Global

The ban, set to take effect on August 11, was implemented by Congress in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. However, the DOE has the authority to issue waivers through 2027 if no viable alternative sources of low-enriched uranium (LEU) are available or if the import is deemed to be in the national interest.

The nuclear industry has expressed concerns about potential reactor outages due to the ban, as Russia currently supplies approximately 20% of the enrichment needs for US nuclear plants. The DOE’s notice indicates that an alternative source would be considered available if it can be secured at a reasonable price given market conditions and in a timely manner, considering the long lead times required for uranium processing and fuel fabrication.

The waiver process has been further complicated by a recent force majeure notice sent by Tenex, a subsidiary of Russian state-owned nuclear company Rosatom, to US end-users. Tenex cited the ban’s enactment and uncertainty surrounding the waivers as reasons for potentially halting enrichment and delivery of uranium for US customers or requiring financial guarantees for payment regardless of waiver status.

The DOE aims to provide decisions on waiver requests within 30 days of application. Waivers will be presumed to be in the national interest if they are necessary to maintain the viability of a critical US nuclear fuel company or to support existing arrangements to supply fuel to third countries.

Information for this story was found via S&P Global, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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