Didn’t Hillary have sumpthin’ to do with uranium and the Russians or sumpthin’?
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.”Katie Tubb
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, a town of about 200 people who are members of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe 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% of their uranium from Canada, Kazakhstan and other foreign suppliers and only 10% 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.
The libs will piss and moan about reviving uranium mining, but forget that they need to plug in their electric cars at night!