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Restoring America's Competitive Nuclear Energy Advantage
Read the full report given to President Trump from the Nuclear Fuel Working Groups.
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NFWG Fact Sheet

America is losing its competitive global position as the world leader in nuclear energy and technology to state-owned enterprises, including Russia and China, and other competitor nations also aggressively moving to surpass the United States.

America is on the brink of losing its ability to produce domestic uranium for the fabrication of nuclear fuel, threatening our national interest and national security.

The Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership is a direct outcome from the efforts of the United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group established by the President in his July 12, 2019 Memorandum on the Effect of Uranium Imports on the National Security and Establishment of the United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group.

This comprehensive strategy includes policy recommendations on Executive, Congressional, and regulatory actions that could be taken to enhance the positive attributes of nuclear power, revive capabilities of the uranium mining, milling, and conversion industries, strengthen U.S. technology supremacy, and drive U.S. exports, while assuring consistency with U.S. nonproliferation objectives and supporting national security.

The strategy recommends:

  • Taking immediate and bold action to strengthen the uranium mining and conversion industries and restore the viability of the entire front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
  • Utilizing American technological innovation and advanced civil nuclear RD&D investments to consolidate technical advances and strengthen American leadership in the next generation of civil nuclear technologies.
  • Ensuring that there will be a healthy and growing nuclear energy sector to which uranium miners, fuel cycle providers, and reactor vendors can sell their products and services.
  • Taking a whole-of-government approach to supporting the U.S. nuclear energy industry in exporting civil nuclear technology in competition with state-owned enterprises.

The strategy recognizes that the credibility of the U.S. non-proliferation regime depends upon the viability and the health of a robust civilian nuclear energy industry and technology leadership position and the “world-leading standard” embodied by the U.S. nuclear safety regulatory structures.

The United States currently has two well-defined future defense needs for domestic uranium supply: low-enriched uranium is needed to produce tritium required for nuclear weapons in the 2040s, and highly-enriched uranium is needed to fuel Navy nuclear reactors in the 2050s. 

Building a Uranium Reserve: The First Step in Preserving the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Cycle
New Uranium Reserve program would buy uranium directly from domestic mines and contract for uranium conversion services.
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Press Release - 04.23.2020

Secrertary Brouillette Announces The Nuclear Fuel Working Group's Strategy To Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette announced the Nuclear Fuel Working Group’s Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership, a direct outcome from the efforts of the United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group, established by President Trump on July 12, 2019. Secretary Brouillette unveiled the comprehensive strategy, which outlines potential actions that could enhance the positive attributes of nuclear power, revive capabilities of the uranium mining, milling, and conversion industries, strengthen U.S. technology supremacy, and drive U.S. exports, while assuring consistency with U.S. non-proliferation objectives and supporting national security.

“The decline of the U.S. industrial base in the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle over the past few decades has threatened our national interest and national security,” said Secretary Brouillette. “This Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership recognizes this challenge and lays out an array of policy options to restore America’s leadership in nuclear energy and technology. As a matter of national security, it is critical that we take bold steps to preserve and grow the entire U.S. nuclear energy enterprise. The Trump Administration is committed to regaining our competitive global position as the world leader in nuclear energy.”

The Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership recommends:

  • Taking immediate and bold action to strengthen the uranium mining and conversion industries and restore the viability of the entire front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
  • Utilizing American technological innovation and advanced nuclear RD&D investments to consolidate technical advances and strengthen American leadership in the next generation of nuclear energy technologies.
  • Ensuring that there will be a healthy and growing nuclear energy sector to which uranium miners, fuel cycle providers, and reactor vendors can sell their products and services.
  • Taking a whole-of-government approach to supporting the U.S. nuclear energy industry in exporting civil nuclear technology in competition with state-owned enterprises.

The United States currently has two well-defined future defense needs for domestic uranium supply: low-enriched uranium needed to produce tritium required for nuclear weapons in the 2040s, and highly-enriched uranium needed to fuel Navy nuclear reactors in the 2050s.

The Strategy also recognizes that U.S. national security is truly integrated with the health of the front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle – the United States needs a strong civil nuclear industry to enable national defense. The credibility of the U.S. non-proliferation regime depends upon the viability and the health of a robust civilian nuclear energy industry and technology leadership position, including the “world-leading standard” embodied by the U.S. nuclear safety regulatory structures.

As an initial and important step, the President’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request for the Department of Energy includes $150 million to stand up a domestic Uranium Reserve. It will begin with the purchase of uranium from U.S. mines and of U.S. conversion services.

The United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group (NFWG) was established by Presidential Memorandum on July 12, 2019 to undertake a fuller analysis of national security considerations with respect to the entire nuclear fuel supply chain, and report back to the President. The NFWG took a collaborative interagency approach to develop policy options across the entire nuclear fuel supply chain to revitalize the U.S. nuclear energy industry.

A Fact Sheet on the Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership can be found HERE. The full report to the President can be found HERE.

View original press release HERE.

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Stakeholders: What They Are Saying

 

Centrus:

“We applaud the Administration’s commitment to restore America’s leadership in nuclear energy and technology,” said Daniel B. Poneman, Centrus President and CEO.  “We welcome the support to fund R&D on high-assay low-enriched uranium and to complete the HALEU enrichment demonstration program.  And we strongly support favorable consideration of the expansion of the American Assured Fuel Supply – including unobligated enriched uranium – and its merger with the new Uranium Reserve, to enable the United States to regain its lost self-sufficiency in the front end of the fuel cycle.”

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration, our utility customers, U.S. fuel cycle companies, and other key stakeholders to reestablish America’s nuclear energy leadership,” Poneman concluded.

ClearPath: 

“The administration has taken the wise, long view that a strong nuclear fuel supply industry will not exist without thriving, growing demand for that fuel, in the U.S. and abroad. Supporting R&D, demonstrations of moonshot technology, and robust American exports will create new clean energy market opportunities for American innovators -- while maintaining competitiveness against China and Russia,” said Rich Powell, Executive Director of ClearPath Action. 

Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI):

The following statement can be attributed to Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer at NEI:

“We thank the administration for its support to revitalize and bolster the U.S. nuclear energy industry. The Nuclear Fuel Working Group report recommends actions that will strengthen our national security, sustain a resilient energy system and put us on a path to a cleaner environment.

“The report shows strong support for maintaining domestic fuel cycle capabilities, and we encourage Congressional action to create a uranium reserve as outlined in the report and the president’s fiscal 2021 budget request. Support for the development of next-generation technologies and advanced fuels, which is included in the report, will drive innovation across the industry and keep America competitive in this strategic sector. And the administration plans bold steps to address challenges faced by U.S. nuclear companies as they compete against state-owned enterprises in Russia and China. Actions to, bolster export financing, strengthen export coordination and open new markets to U.S. firms will enable the U.S. to foster 100-year relationships through nuclear energy exports and technology cooperation.”

“NEI looks forward to working with the administration as it implements these recommendations and with Congress to further support our members as they continue to provide reliable, carbon-free energy.

U.S. Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC):         

The U.S. Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC) commends the Administration for putting forth this comprehensive policy blueprint to bolster American nuclear entrepreneurship and reassert nuclear geopolitical leadership. 

"The administration's support to maintain America's lead in research and development aimed at advancing our nuclear technology to meet the needs of today's world is crucial.  Today's blueprint is yet another step demonstrating President Trump's and Secretary Brouillette's commitment to ensure international progress in our nuclear future through American leadership.   At USNIC we share this commitment and will continue our strong support for and leadership in advancing clean, safe, efficient nuclear energy," said Bud Albright, President & CEO of USNIC. 

"Doubling down on American technological innovation, leveraging key financing tools like Ex-Im and the IDFC, and reducing unnecessary regulations across the supply chain positions the industry for takeoff. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to advance this agenda in the coming months" said Jeremy Harrell, Chairman of USNIC.  

National Mining Association (NMA):

The National Mining Association (NMA) today applauded recommendations from the Nuclear Fuel Working Group, which included important steps to restore American nuclear energy leadership.

“Energy security and national security concerns have been repeatedly raised around our staggering import reliance for uranium. Now more than ever – when we are seeing the fragile nature of global supply chains assumed to be unshakable for so long – the establishment of a national uranium reserve is an important first step to secure our domestic supply chain,” said Rich Nolan, NMA president and CEO. “Domestic uranium production is teetering on the edge of disappearing, with less than five percent of our needs being met domestically. Our mineral import reliance for uranium and other minerals should be alarming to all Americans, especially when the U.S. is home to ample resources, stringent environmental protections, and the most advanced mining technologies and best practices in the world.”

The current state of the domestic uranium mining industry is not a product of foreign competition legitimately underpricing domestic producers. Rather, foreign, state-mandated production is thwarting domestic producers’ ability to compete on a level playing field. As such, NMA supported the Department of Commerce’s investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and the subsequent establishment of the Nuclear Fuel Working Group to reinvigorate the nuclear fuel supply chain starting with the domestic uranium mining industry.

The working group’s recommendations - particularly those related to the establishment of a uranium reserve, an end to the Department of Energy’s bartering of uranium and reducing regulatory burdens for uranium mining - represent a common-sense strategy to address the national security implications of our reliance on foreign imports.

Wyoming Mining Association:

Wyoming Mining Association (WMA) Executive Director Travis Deti issued the following statement following the US Department of Energy’s release of the Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership based on the efforts of the US Nuclear Fuel Working Group.

“As the nation’s leader in the production of uranium, we applaud the recommendations as outlined in the Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership. This is the result of a lot of hard work and leadership, in particular from the Wyoming’s Congressional Delegation. A strong uranium mining industry is critical to both American clean energy goals and our national defense. Wyoming producers stand ready to meet the goals of a strategic uranium stockpile while providing good paying jobs in these tough and uncertain times.”

Lightbridge Corporation:

Seth Grae, President and CEO of Lightbridge Corporation said: “This report from the Nuclear Fuel Working Group represents a breakthrough moment for the U.S. nuclear industry. Not in at least a generation has there been a document with such potential to restore America’s leadership in nuclear energy. Over the years, America has gradually ceded its leadership position in nuclear energy to Russia and China, which threatens American competitiveness and national security. The policies outlined in the report will reverse this trend, invigorating U.S. innovation to propel America back into global leadership in nuclear energy.”

Westwater Resources:

Christopher Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer of Westwater Resources commented:

“The policies contained within the Nuclear Fuel Working Group [Strategy] truly make sense for America’s energy security and energy producers, while leveling the playing field for American uranium companies. Westwater owns two licensed uranium processing facilities in Texas, along with 199,700 acres of uranium mineral rights in New Mexico & Texas. The Federal Government’s commitment towards supporting domestic uranium production will enable Westwater to better compete in these markets, creating American jobs and supporting local communities.”  

Nuvemco, LLC:

“The NFWG report nails it; restoring a competitive nuclear advantage requires addressing non-competitive actions of foreign nations that have helped destroy our U.S. industry. As a holder of permitted uranium mines, Nuvemco understands what it takes to provide uranium and other critical minerals while creating good-paying blue-collar jobs in our community.  We look forward to working with the DOE on bold actions to level the playing field and assure U.S. National Security from a vibrant and secure American supply chain.” – Paul Szilagyi, CEO, Nuvemco, LLC

Columbia Basin Consulting Group:

Statement by Bill Stokes, President of Columbia Basin Consulting Group

We applaud the efforts of the Administration to advance the technology for Nuclear Energy and reassert the US' Leadership in this critical industry.  We fully agree that the lack of a US presence in the international commercial power sector, has all but abdicated our policy influence on the world stage and surrendered our commercial technology leadership to countries such as Russia, China, Korea, India, and others with strong investments in nuclear energy technology.  Our firm's niche in nuclear energy is liquid-metal, fast reactors for power production applications.  Advancement in this technology has been hindered by several issues from regulatory processes, overly burdensome restrictions on international business development, and historical information access; however, the issue of most concern is access to fuel.  The investment in advanced fuel types, including High Assey/Low Enriched Fuels will provide a path to remove this "show-stopper" issue for a whole class of advanced reactor technology.  

Energy Fuels:

Energy Fuels Inc., the largest uranium producer in the United States, applauds the Trump administration and the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Working Group for developing a bold Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership, which will support U.S. energy and national security, prevent geopolitical adversaries (particularly those in Russia & China) from using their nuclear capabilities to influence U.S. and world nuclear markets, and promote global non-proliferation and nuclear safety objectives.  

Uranium Producers of America:

“The Uranium Producers of America (UPA) thank President Trump for his leadership in forming the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Working Group (NFWG) and recognizing that the challenges facing the domestic uranium industry are an issue of national security. We applaud the NFWG for recommending both immediate and longer-term measures necessary to reinvigorate the domestic uranium mining and conversion industries. The anti-free market tactics of state-backed uranium entities, including those in Russia and in China, threaten America’s national security and energy independence. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to quickly implement these NFWG’s recommendations, prevent the collapse of the domestic uranium industry, and put the U.S. on a path towards reclaiming its leadership in global nuclear markets.”

Uranium Energy Corp. (UEC):

UEC Chairman and Former U.S. Energy Secretary, Spencer Abraham, stated: “Today’s announcement and report represent a clear and unambiguous commitment by the U.S. government to establish the development of domestic uranium mining capabilities at the forefront of America’s national security.  The President, the Trump Administration and Secretary Brouillette are to be commended for addressing this pressing national security challenge forcefully.  America’s power sector won’t be secure until we shed our total dependence on imported uranium.  The President’s proposal will put people back to work and strengthen our national security at the same time and Congress needs to act decisively and quickly on these proposals.”

President and CEO Amir Adnani added: “We appreciate and applaud President Trump and the NFWG for developing a comprehensive strategy to recapture America’s nuclear industry capabilities and leadership in the global marketplace. We are pleased the uranium purchase program will be a broad and inclusive process for rebuilding a globally competitive American uranium mining sector. UEC controls the largest resource base of fully permitted ISR projects in Texas and Wyoming of any U.S. based producer, ideally positioned to lead the resurgence in domestic uranium mining. We believe this will be a long-standing advantage to lead U.S. production higher, to support the needs of the U.S. Uranium Reserve and to be a competitive supplier to U.S. utilities. America’s commercial reactor fleet consumes approximately 47M pounds of uranium annually, and with no U.S. production today, and many supply-chain challenges globally, there’s a clear opportunity for our Company as a low-cost, domestic uranium supplier.”

Ur-Energy:

Ur-Energy’s Chairman and CEO Jeff Klenda stated, “We are grateful for the President’s leadership on this matter and are excited to see the results of the NFWG’s holistic review of the entire industry. As the NFWG’s recommendations are implemented, we will enjoy a revitalized nuclear industry and, consequently, a reduced reliance on nuclear imports from our nation’s geostrategic rivals. While awaiting today’s report, we have maintained operational readiness at our fully-permitted Lost Creek Mine with experienced technical and operational staff and a well-maintained plant. More than six and a half years into production at Lost Creek, we are still producing in the first mine unit and the initial three header houses of the second mine unit. Ur-Energy is prepared to rapidly expand uranium production at Lost Creek, to an annualized runrate of one million pounds. And, soon we will add production from our Shirley Basin Mine.”