The uranium market is on tenterhooks as US president Donald Trump decides whether to impose tariffs or import quotas on the nuclear fuel. After a petition by two domestic miners, Washington’s Department of Commerce launched an investigation last year into the national security implications – both from a military and civilian perspective – of buying so much uranium from overseas. The US consumes about 49m lb a year of the radioactive material, which in its raw form is known as yellowcake, but produces less than 3m lb. The commerce department has delivered its recommendations to the White House and Mr Trump now has 90 days to make a decision on what measures, if any, to take. The petition demands nuclear power companies source 25 per cent of their uranium domestically, something that would require much higher prices to encourage miners to increase production. As they await the president’s verdict, utility companies have backed away from the market. That has put pressure on the price of uranium, which slipped to $25 a pound in March.
FT 23rd April 2019 read more »
The first shipments of nuclear waste in five years were sent to from Los Alamos National Laboratory’s reopened loading facility this month to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and was successfully delivered a few days later. Since WIPP reopened in 2017, after a 2014 accidental radiological release that was linked to LANL, the Laboratory sent a small amount of shipments to WIPP, but the loading facility’s restart was expected to increase shipment in the coming months. Los Alamos is the nation’s largest producer of transuranic waste, which is disposed of at WIPP in its underground salt mine. The successful shipment followed the reopening of LANL’s Radioactive Assay Nondestructive Test facility in February.
Albuquerque Journal 22nd April 2019 read more »