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United States and Russia sign agreement to reduce U.S. reliance on Russian uranium supply

The Department of Commerce announced the deal on Tuesday

President Trump and President Putin converse at an APEC meeting in 2017
President Trump and President Putin converse at an APEC meeting in 2017
(Jorge Silva / Getty Images)
Updated: October 8, 2020 - 10:26am

The United States Commerce Department has signed a final agreement with the Russian atomic agency that will extend the terms of an 1992 agreement, further reducing America's reliance on Russian uranium, the Commerce Department announced Tuesday.

"This landmark agreement will contribute to the revitalization of American nuclear industry, while promoting America's long-term strategic interests," Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. "It represents yet another success for the Trump Administration's America First approach to international trade agreements."

The agreement will reduce the United States' reliance on uranium from Russia over the course of the next two decades, extending the previously negotiated deal to the year 2040. The amended deal will see Russian uranium exports to the U.S. fall from about 20% of America's enrichment needs to about 17%. The target is to reach a 15% export from Russia by the year 2028.

"The draft amendment would enable the U.S. commercial enrichment industry to compete on fair terms," said the Commerce Department. In May, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators encouraged the Commerce Department to pursue the renewal of the uranium agreement, saying it is the responsibility of the department to "protect America's energy and national security interests, and to limit Russia's ability to manipulate America's uranium markets."

Last year, the president created the Nuclear Fuel Working Group to provide recommendations to strengthen the U.S. nuclear fuel supply chain. Earlier this year, the Department of Energy produced a report claiming that Russia has effectively weaponized its energy supplies, exerting its influence over America's nuclear fuel cycle and creating a serious national security threat.