Uranium Week: Stalled Legislation

Weekly Reports | Mar 12 2024

The uranium spot market came to a halt last week as US Congress members had differing ideas on a ban of Russian imports.

-Spot U3O8 market on hold
-Term market demand ongoing
-Kazatomprom production guidance downgrade anticipated

By Greg Peel

Last week, the US House overwhelmingly passed legislation meant to speed up the development of a new generation of nuclear power plants, uranium industry consultant TradeTech reports.

It was a rare example of bipartisanship from an increasingly dysfunctional Congress. More true to form, Senate Republicans and Democrats have written their own legislation to promote nuclear power. The two chambers are expected to discuss how to reconcile their differences in the coming months, but final passage is not assured, TradeTech notes, particularly with so many other spending bills still pending.

There are only so many coming months ahead of the election.

The House did manage to pass a stop-gap bill last month to prevent a government shutdown, which is part of a two-step process towards a final budget bill that has been put off multiple times since mid-last year, each time threatening a government shutdown.

The latest spending bill includes US$2.7bn in reprogrammed infrastructure money for enriched uranium supplies. Lawmakers had been trying to include this in the national security supplement to help implement the recently passed Nuclear Fuel Security Act, TradeTech reports, which would ensure the purchase of US nuclear fuel.

Nuclear energy advocates see that act as an important early step in developing a domestic supply of enriched uranium for advanced nuclear reactors. As one of the steps in the process, the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing tonight to review global dependence on Russian nuclear fuel.

The uncertain outcome and timing of these legislative developments have largely caused activity in the spot uranium market to come to a halt as market participants step away from the market taking a “wait and see” attitude, TradeTech reports.

Given the Republican majority House refused to even consider a bipartisan bill from the Senate providing aid to Ukraine, one wonders what attitude will be taken towards any attempt to curb imports of Russian uranium.

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