Trump Wants $1.5 Billion Over 10 Years to Revive U.S. Uranium Mining

Trump Wants $1.5 Billion Over 10 Years to Revive U.S. Uranium Mining

(SALT LAKE CITY) — The Trump administration is asking Congress for $1.5 billion over 10 years to create a new national stockpile of U.S.-mined uranium, saying that propping up U.S. uranium production in the face of cheaper imports is a matter of vital energy security.

But some Democratic lawmakers, and market analysts across the political spectrum, charge that the Trump administration’s overall aim is really about helping a few uranium companies that can’t compete in the global market.

Demand for the nuclear fuel has languished worldwide since Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster.

U.S. uranium production has plummeted 96% in the last five years, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday. Trump made the request for a new national uranium reserve in his 2021 budget request this week — the latest illustration that trying to rescue the U.

S. nuclear and coal industries is a political priority for the Republican president who often invokes national security as justification.

“It’s not the responsibility of the taxpayer to bail out an industry, whether that’s uranium, solar, coal, what have you,” said Katie Tubb, a senior energy policy analyst at the conservative Washington Heritage Foundation.

The Energy Department said the plan would boost work for at least a couple of the U.

S. West’s nearly dormant uranium operations, although residents near one of the mines say they fear an increase in radioactive threats.

“Whatever Trump does, we’ll be standing our ground to let the people know that we’re not going to give up,” said Yolanda Badback, a resident of White Mesa, Utah, a town of 200 people on the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation that is near a uranium mill in southern Utah.

Trump’s plan would need approval from a highly partisan Congress.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has opposed Trump’s effort to make domestic uranium mining a strategic issue, His aides said they needed to see more details from the administration on the stockpile proposal.

Demand for nuclear and coal power sources has fallen against marketplace competition from ever-cheaper natural gas and renewable wind and solar.

Trump has been unable to stop a string of coal and nuclear power plant closings. The U.S. nuclear industry has sought help from the Trump administration, including asking for taxpayer subsidies to promote use of U.

S. uranium. U.S. nuclear power plants in 2018 got 90 percent of their uranium from Canada, Kazakhstan and other foreign suppliers, and only 10 percent from U.

S. mines. Trump in 2019 rejected a request from U.S. uranium mining operators that he set a minimum quota for domestic uranium.

But he agreed to set up a task force of national security, military and other federal officials to look for other ways to revive domestic production of the whole nuclear fuel supply chain.

That task force’s findings are expected within two weeks. Trump’s budget proposal would be part of an effort “to put the United States back in the nuclear game around the world,” Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told reporters Monday.

While Trump has called propping up U.S. uranium mining essential to national security, the Energy Department acknowledged in its budget presentation that “no immediate national security need has been identified” for the uranium reserve.

The same document contends that the funds aren’t meant to “disrupt market mechanisms.

” “That is exactly what it is designed to do,” said Luke J. Danielson, president of Colorado-based Sustainable Development Strategies Group, which advises foreign governments about mineral policies.

“The history of the government of trying to subsidize the energy sector and pick winners and losers is abysmal,” Danielson added.

Many Democratic lawmakers have challenged Trump’s security argument for domestic uranium. Existing uranium reserves and production and trade with allies Australia and Canada were already adequate to securing the U.

S. uranium supply, Rep. Alan Lowenthal, a California Democrat, said last year.

The Energy Department didn’t say which U.S. uranium mines would benefit from the proposal, but the Nuclear Energy Industry trade group pointed to existing mines in Wyoming as likely candidates.

“It’s a good step to show that the administration recognizes the strategic value” of the U.S. nuclear industry, said Nima Ashkeboussi, the group’s director of fuel cycles programs.

“We expect more good signals to come out” with the upcoming report from Trump’s nuclear fuels task force. Energy Fuels Inc., a Canadian-owned company with an office in Colorado, called the Trump proposal “a good lifeline for the industry.

” Spokesman Curtis Moore acknowledged that the company is likely to benefit since it has operating mines in east-central Wyoming and southern Utah.

Moore said the program should lead to production of 2.5 million pounds of uranium per year. U.S. uranium mines produced less than 174,000 pounds in 2019, according to Thursday’s Energy Information Administration report.

That’s down from 4.9 million pounds in 2014. Energy Fuels recently laid off nearly one-third of the company’s 79 employees at the White Mesa Mill in Wyoming and La Sal Complex mines in Utah, he said.

At another mine, the Nichols Ranch facility in east-central Wyoming, nearby residents participate in a yearly protest walk to draw attention to negative impacts the mine has on an otherwise wide open and remote stretch of land.

Former mine owner Uranerz Energy Corp.

in 2014 agreed to pay a $5,000 state fine for two spills that year of more than 30,000 gallons (114,000 liters) of uranium-bearing solution.

Категория: Politics. Источник: feedproxy.google.com.

 

Trump's critics on the economy: So wrong, so often There's an old saying about baseball and life that no one ever had a 1.000 batting average. It turns out, that's not exactly true. At least when it c...

This is how jellyfish can sting you without even touching you Upside-down jellyfish release tiny balls of stinging cells that can move through water on their own and survive for days – leaving a network of mucus...

Chronic kidney disease kills more than 1M people annually worldwide Chronic kidney disease has been described as a "global killer in plain sight" by the authors of a new analysis estimating the prevalence of the condi...

The DOJ Asks Startup Investors: Are Tech Giants Too Powerful? An antitrust workshop at Stanford brings together Justice Department officials and venture capitalists to consider reining in the industry's biggest ...

Natalie Portman responds to Rose McGowan's criticism of her Oscar nod to female directors Natalie Portman's subtle tribute to female filmmakers at the 2020 Oscars did not go over well with Rose McGowan, who called Portman's show of support...

Amazon Wins Court Injunction, Halting Work on $10 Billion JEDI Contract It Lost to Microsoft A federal judge just put the brakes on a major military contract after Amazon argued it only lost out to rival Microsoft because the president wanted...

Netflix’s Sharp New Dramedy Gentefied Tells a Different Kind of Gentrification Story Gentrification, as depicted in pop culture, tends to be a conflict between strangers. There are the original occupants of a suddenly desirable urban ...

Fancy seafood brasseries are having a moment in NYC It’s been swimming under the media radar — but a great seafood-brasserie wave is swamping NYC. Opened late last year, Oceans, a beautiful, Davi...

Vodafone Idea Reports Quarterly Loss, Sheds 7 Million Subscribers Vodafone Idea reported a third-quarter loss on Thursday, as the troubled Indian telecom company shed millions of mobile subscribers due to intense co...

Do not confuse food charity with ‘right to food’, UN expert tells Italians, labelling food system exploitative A sophisticated Italian food system is placing a heavy burden on Italy’s workers and farmers, an independent UN human rights expert said on Friday, f...

36 Hours in Niseko Sublime skiing, snowboarding and “snow-surfing” are only part of the story in this Japanese resort. Culinary adventures abound, local whiskey flows a...

Refugee resettlement: ‘Tremendous gap’ persists between needs, and spaces on offer Although around 1.4 million refugees are estimated to be in urgent need of resettlement worldwide, only 63,696 were resettled through the UN refugee ...