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USA, France, continue to buy nuclear supplies from Russia – no sanctions on that industry!

Stop funding Russia’s nuclear weapons, The Hill, BY HENRY SOKOLSKI, – 11/13/22

As Washington and the commentariat wring their hands about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear sword rattling, the United States and the European Union (EU) continue to shovel hundreds of millions of dollars to Rosatom — a Russian nuclear firm that maintains Moscow’s nuclear weapons complex and just filched a $60-billion Ukrainian nuclear plant.

Why would Washington and Brussels back such a nuclear villain? Do we really want to support Russian organizations that are critical to Putin building the nuclear bombs he is now threatening us with? No one will say yes, but the nuclear industry in Europe and the United States insist we can’t afford not to.

Besides being in charge of all of Russia’s nuclear weapons production and development, Rosatom supplies nuclear fuel to nuclear plants in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary. Any European Union (EU) decision to cut off fuel to these plants would immediately harm these states economically. So, when Poland, Ireland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Germany recently recommended that the EU ban Russian nuclear imports to avoid funding Russia’s military efforts, the Hungarians and French howled and Brussels blinked.

What’s Paris’s brief? Russia buys two-thirds of France’s electrical steam generators. Also, French nuclear fuel fabricator Framatome just struck a major nuclear fuel development cooperation agreement with Rosatom……………………………

The EU, of course, must act by consensus. But what of the United States? There are no Russian-designed reactors in America. Nor is the United States without alternative uranium suppliers in Canada, Australia and Kazakhstan or practical, near-term uranium enrichment options. Yet, Washington pretty much followed the EU’s play book.

Russia provides roughly 15 percent of America’s raw uranium and 28 percent of its enriched uranium. Combined with Russian nuclear sales to the EU, these uranium imports from Russia fatten Rosatom’s coffers by as much as $1 billion a year — easily more than Rosatom spends to maintain Russia’s nuclear weapons complex.

You’d think that this last point would be politically fatal to further imports. Think again. Only days after Russia seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the Nuclear Energy Institute and Duke power lobbied President Biden to keep Russian uranium imports coming. Failing to do so, they claimed, would risk increasing the cost of “zero-carbon” nuclear-supplied electricity. Worse, they insisted, it would jeopardize the future of advanced small modular reactors, most of which favor using special enriched uranium.

Soon after they made this plea, the White House concurred: Biden announced a U.S. embargo on all forms of Russian energy – oil, natural gas, and coal – but not on uranium…………………………….  https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/3732521-stop-funding-russias-nuclear-weapons/

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November 12, 2022 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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