Energy Fuels Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:UUUU) (TSX:EFR) has applauded the Trump administration and the US Nuclear Fuel Working Group (NFWG) for developing a strategy to restore American nuclear energy leadership.
The comprehensive strategy, which was outlined in a report Thursday, seeks to revive and strengthen US nuclear fuel capabilities, starting with uranium mining which is Energy Fuels' occupation.
The overall goals include supporting US energy and national security, preventing geopolitical adversaries, especially in Russia, from using their nuclear capabilities to influence the US and the world, and promoting global non-proliferation objectives and nuclear safety.
The report states that "the clear outcome of the Working Group's efforts is confirmation that it is in the nation's national security interests to preserve the assets and investments of the entire US nuclear enterprise and to revitalize the sector to regain US global nuclear leadership."
In a statement on Friday, Energy Fuels CEO Mark Chalmers called the report the “most comprehensive review in decades” of the nation's nuclear fuel supply chain.
“By appropriating and implementing the recommendations outlined in this strategy, our nation will take bold and much-needed steps toward reestablishing US nuclear leadership, while protecting our national security,” Chalmers said.
“We are extremely pleased that the US government has expressed such a strong commitment to supporting domestic uranium mining and nuclear fuel capabilities."
The report also states that "the US Government will take bold action to revive and strengthen the uranium mining industry" and "de-risk the fuel cycle" to counter the deliberate actions of state-owned enterprises in Russia, China and elsewhere to degrade US nuclear capabilities.
The Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership recommends:
- Making direct US government purchases of 17-19 million pounds of uranium beginning in 2020 for a strategic uranium reserve (which has already been reflected in the President's fiscal 2021 budget, which contemplates expenditures of $150 million per year over a 10-year period, totaling $1.5 billion, to create this strategic uranium reserve)
- Ending the Department of Energy uranium bartering program that has directly competed against domestic uranium miners in the past.
- Supporting the Department of Commerce's efforts to extend the Russian Suspension Agreement (RSA) to prevent dumping of Russian uranium in the US, and "the consideration of further lowering the cap on Russian imports under future RSA terms.”
- Enabling the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny imports of fabricated nuclear fuel from Russia.
- Streamlining regulatory reform and land access for uranium.
In July 2019, President Donald Trump created the NFWG, which is comprised of several cabinet-level secretaries and other high-ranking government officials, to address the deterioration of the US nuclear fuel industry.
Energy Fuels pointed out in its statement that US uranium mining is at its lowest level since record-keeping began in the 1940s. The only US uranium conversion facility closed in 2017 and is at risk of closing permanently, and the US has no domestically owned uranium enrichment capabilities.
Instead, state-owned enterprises in Russia, China and their allies are filling the global vacuum left by the US, which has ceded leadership in nuclear energy over the past several decades.
"Energy Fuels is ready to play a significant role in helping the U.S. restore nuclear leadership,” Chalmers added. “We have proven, low-cost uranium mines and constructed production facilities in the western US that can increase uranium production more quickly and on a greater scale than any other US company.”
Energy Fuels has been the largest US uranium miner since 2017, and its assets have produced about 34% of all uranium produced in the US since 2006. It is based in Lakewood, Colorado, with mines, and plants in Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico.
The company said it will a webcast and conference call at 11:30 am ET on Friday to discuss the NFWG recommendations and how it expects to benefit. To join the webcast, dial 1-888-664-6392 (toll-free in the US and Canada) or 416-764-8659. A link to a recorded version of the proceedings will be available on Energy Fuels' website shortly after the webcast by calling toll-free 1-888-390-0541 or 416-764-8677 and entering the code 391359 followed by the pound key.
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