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Why US Continues To Pay Billions To Russia’s Nuclear Agency: Report

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Why US Continues To Pay Billions To Russia's Nuclear Agency: Report

American companies pay around USD 1 billion a year to Russia’s state-owned nuclear agency

Washington:

American companies pay around USD 1 billion a year to Russia’s state-owned nuclear agency to buy the fuel as no firm owned enriches uranium, New York Times Reported.

US companies pay such a huge amount to Russia to buy the fuel that generates more than half of the United States’ emissions-free energy.

In order to give punishment to Russia after it started the military operation in Ukraine, the US stopped buying Russian fossil fuels but as no firms owned enriched uranium, America had to buy the fuel.

It is one of the most significant remaining recurring flows of money from the United States to Russia, and it continues despite strenuous efforts among US allies to sever economic ties with Moscow. The enriched uranium payments are made to subsidiaries of Rosatom, which in turn is closely intertwined with Russia’s military apparatus.

Roughly a third of enriched uranium used in the United States is now imported from Russia, the world’s cheapest producer. Most of the rest is imported from Europe. A final, smaller portion is produced by a British-Dutch-German consortium operating in the United States. Nearly a dozen countries around the world depend on Russia for more than half their enriched uranium, reported New York Times.

The company that operates the Ohio plant says it could take more than a decade for it to produce quantities that rivalled Rosatom.

The Russian nuclear agency, which produces both low-enriched and weapons-grade fuel for Russia’s civilian and military purposes, is also responsible in Ukraine for commandeering the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s biggest, sparking fears that a battle over it could cause leaks of radioactive material or even a larger meltdown.

The dependency on Russia has left the future of nuclear plants in the United States vulnerable to a Russian shutdown of enriched uranium sales.

Yet with the war well into its second year and no end in sight, the U.S. government has shown little alacrity in kick-starting domestic enrichment. Billions of dollars in potential federal funding remain stuck in bureaucratic processes, according to New York Times.

“It’s inexplicable that over a year after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Biden administration does not appear to have a plan to end this dependence,” said James Krellenstein, the director of GHS Climate, a clean energy consulting firm that recently issued a white paper on the subject.

“We could eliminate almost all of America’s dependence on Russian enrichment by finishing the centrifuge plant in Ohio,” he said.
 

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