Trump administration aims to buy uranium for reserve 'as soon as possible,' official says

Trump administration aims to buy uranium for reserve 'as soon as possible,' official says
© Getty

An Energy Department official said Friday that the government is aiming to start buying mined uranium for a proposed uranium reserve “as soon as possible” as the Trump administration looks to increase its production of nuclear energy. 

“What we’re looking to do is begin as soon as possible by purchasing uranium starting at the mines where the danger of collapse is the most acute in the fuel cycle,” Benjamin Reinke, who leads the department’s Office of Policy, said in a discussion moderated by radio host Hugh Hewitt.

“We would begin with the purchase of uranium and beginning of standing up the conversion services that would be necessary to create a full uranium reserve,” he said, referring to the method by which uranium is processed. 

ADVERTISEMENT

He stated that the reserve would be “ready to go” in case of a market failure so that reactors would not have to be shut down.

The Energy Department did not immediately respond to a follow-up question from The Hill about how soon a uranium purchase could occur. 

The department last month issued a report detailing its plans to boost the nuclear energy industry, including a $150 million uranium reserve proposal, which would include purchasing the mineral from a small group of domestic producers. 

The administration has said that measures to assist the nuclear industry would both enhance the U.S. power supply and hamper the influence of Russia and China on the international market. 

Some environmentalists have been wary of nuclear power despite the fact that its production does not emit carbon because of the need to store its waste.

The price of uranium has also fallen in recent years. In 2019, the average price of uranium was nearly $36 per pound, an 8 percent decrease from the year prior.