Senate & House Committee Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ban Russian Uranium Imports

March 9, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jim Risch (R-ID), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) introduced bipartisan legislation to ban imports of Russian uranium.

The bill is the Senate companion to H.R. 1042, which was introduced last month by U.S. Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C), and Bob Latta (R-OH), chair of the E&C Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. 

Barrasso serves as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR). Manchin serves as chairman of ENR. Risch is a member of ENR and serves as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

“Every dollar we give to Russia supports Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine,” said Ranking Member Barrasso. “America’s nuclear industry is ready to transition away from Russian uranium. Wyoming has the resources we need to boost production at home. The first step is permanently removing all Russian energy, including uranium, from the American marketplace. By banning Russian uranium imports we can further defund Russia’s war machine, help revive American uranium production, and increase our national security.” 

“Russia invaded Ukraine a little over one year ago, and Putin’s energy war still shows no signs of slowing down. Russia’s invasion completely changed the way natural gas and oil are bought and sold around the world, and the potential for even more supply disruptions — this time to our nuclear energy supply chain — is only increasing. This bill would help ensure that American nuclear energy companies aren’t reliant on Russian imported uranium fuel and send a strong message to the world that the United States doesn’t need to rely on Putin for the materials we need to power our country,” said Chairman Manchin. 

“Enriched uranium is key to unlocking the boundless potential for clean and reliable nuclear energy. Just as importantly, it’s a pillar of American national security. Unfortunately, the U.S. lacks capacity to fully produce enriched uranium, and it has resulted in an unsafe reliance on Russia—a bad actor who could cut off uranium exports to us at any time,” said Senator Risch. “I am proud to work with Senators Manchin, Barrasso on legislation to increase uranium production in the U.S., reduce dependence on Russia, and diminish Russian domination of the global nuclear fuel supply chain.” 

“Americans are eager for bold new energy solutions that bring costs down, reduce emissions, and end our reliance on adversarial countries like Russia and China. That’s why we’re leading on a bill to eliminate our reliance on Russian nuclear fuels for U.S. nuclear reactors—which is currently more than 20%—and bolster our capacity to develop our own domestic supply. We’re encouraged to see bipartisan support for these efforts in the Senate, and hopeful that Congress can pass this legislation expeditiously  to reduce our reliance on Russia and strengthen American energy security and leadership,” said Rodgers and Latta

Read the text of the bill here

Background Information:

On February 15, 2023, Manchin, Barrasso, and Risch introduced the Nuclear Fuel Security Act. The bill would ensure a domestic supply of nuclear fuel for America’s existing and advanced reactors. 

On April 7, 2022, Barrasso introduced the Fueling Our Nuclear Future Act to accelerate the availability of domestically produced high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) for advanced reactors. It directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to partner with industry to establish a domestic HALEU enrichment capability. It also directs DOE to make HALEU available from their inventories to ensure advanced reactors have the fuel they need until U.S. commercial enrichment is available. 

On March 25, 2021, ENR held a hearing that highlighted opportunities to strengthen U.S. competitiveness in nuclear energy, including by reinvigorating our domestic nuclear fuel supply chain.