Trump pushes uranium bailout as market drops

The Trump administration is asking Congress for $1.5 billion over 10 years to build up a U.S. uranium stockpile, saying it wants to break an over-reliance on foreign uranium that undermines U.S. energy security.

Trump’s 2021 budget proposed $150 million to create a U.S. uranium reserve, which the administration says to help struggling producers of the fuel for nuclear power reactors.

Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, who crafted provisions included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, that directed loan guarantees for the importation and exportation of liquid natural gas, said the uranium bailout represents a push by Trump to challenge the expansion of nuclear power development by Chinese and Russian companies.

It’s been three quarters of a century since the world’s first full scale nuclear reactor came online. Named the B-Reactor, this production-scale plutonium nuclear reactor was one of the major Manhattan Project facilities used during World War II to develop and create nuclear weapons.

Congress has been unable to come up with a durable plan to permanently dispose of nuclear waste, whether resulting from weapons or commercial nuclear reactors.

Demand for the nuclear fuel has deteriorated since the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. 

U.S. uranium production has plummeted 96% in the last five years, the federal Energy Information Administration reported recently.

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