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Biden signs bill banning imports of Russian uranium for nuclear fuel

The United States will ban imported Russian uranium starting on Aug. 11, the Department of Energy announced Tuesday.

Russia controls nearly half of the world's supply of enriched uranium, according to the Department of Energy, and provides about one quarter of the U.S.'s enriched uranium, which is used to power the country's 94 nuclear reactors.

The ban, which President Joe Biden signed into law on Monday, also unlocks $2.72 billion in federal funding to expand the country's uranium industry.

Exchange-traded funds that track uranium prices rose slightly following the announcement, with the Global X Uranium ETF and the Sprott Uranium Miners ETF trading around 1% higher Tuesday.

Because the ban's implementation could hurt supplies for reactors in the U.S., the law allows some waivers for utilities that otherwise would be forced to shut down reactors without them. All waivers, however, will end on or before Jan. 1, 2028.

"Our nation's clean energy future will not rely on Russian imports," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. "We are making investments to build out a secure nuclear fuel supply chain here in the United States."

While the U.S. continues to import more than 20%of its enriched uranium from Russia's state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom, it has sanctioned more than 35 of the company's subsidiaries since February 2022, when the Kremlin invaded Ukraine.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said this latest move marks an end to U.S. dependence on Russia for the commodity.

"Banning imports of Russian uranium will jumpstart America's nuclear fuel industry, further defund Russia's war machine, and help revive American uranium production