President Donald Trump rejected recommendations from the Department of Commerce late on Friday stating that uranium mining in Utah and beyond would likely have revived. However, the president also set up a working group to review the country's nuclear fuel supply chain over the next 90 days.  And Trump calls on the group to identify other ways to boost the indigenous uranium industry.
Environmental NGOs and nuclear suppliers welcome the government's decision not to accept the Ministry of Commerce's recommendations to commit US power plants to up to 25%. "Uranium import quotas would paralyze the economic health of the US nuclear fleet," said Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute. Korsnick added to the industry association sees the formation of the working group as a better approach.
Two uranium companies wanted the Trump administration American nuclear power plants should be forced to use more domestic uranium. Energy Fuels Inc. and Ur-Energy Inc., with offices in the US and Canada, filed a petition to the Department of Commerce in early 201
About 20% In the US, electricity is generated by nuclear energy, but over 92% of the uranium fuel used in nuclear reactors is imported from abroad, mainly from Canada, Australia, Russia and Kazakhstan.
The memorandum signed by Trump late on Friday said the president did not agree with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross's statement that uranium imports could affect national security. In April, Ross gave a report to the White House, stating that the quotas would benefit national security. Details of the report still need to be published.
However, Trump agreed that the impact of the supply chain on national security justifies further verification. The order appoints a number of Cabinet members, including Home Secretary David Bernhardt, a United States nuclear fuel working group, which has 90 days to "develop recommendations for reviving and expanding domestic nuclear fuel production."
Ur-Energy and Energy Fuels praised Trump for recognizing the "significant challenges facing the US uranium industry" and said they were ready to support the working group.
The Grand Canyon Trust published a report earlier this year rejecting quotas, expressing its concern that the working group would bypass environmental regulations, including the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.
"Industry Committed to Cutting Bears Ears' Borders and Requesting Uranium Quotas The Presidential Nuclear Fuel Working Group could continue to recommend measures that would make it possible to mine uranium in Bears Ears," said Tim Peter Sohn Program Manager for Cultural Landscapes at the Grand Canyon Trust.
Energy Fuels employs approximately 60 people in the country's last conventional uranium mill near the Bears Ears National Monument and the Ute Mountain Ute Reserve in southeastern Utah Mines near the monument and the Grand Canyon National Park, the latter of which has incited protests from the Havasupai tribe in recent years.
Tommy Rock, a Diné (Navajo) researcher with a doctorate in environmental science, investigates the implications uranium production to groundwater, he was pleased to see quotas refuse But he added that he would keep an eye on the recommendations of the working group.
Rock said there are about 15,000 abandoned mines in the western United States since the last uranium boom, for which no significant cleanup has been done yet.
A lot of uranium has been mined and worked in the Four Corners, and many of these sites are located on or near Indian Country. Rock said.
"There is still a problem of lack of water infrastructure on the Navajo Nation. "He added, referring to the 40% of reserve households that lack running water, so there are people who use unregulated water sources for human [and livestock] consumption," including sources that were contaminated with uranium decades ago.
Sarah Fields, of San Juan County-based Uranium Watch Group hopes the working group will deliver a public statement before publishing its report. She pointed to documents on sedar.com that companies use to submit public securities documents to Canadian authorities. These show that Energy Fuels, Inc. was founded and headquartered in Ontario. According to the location, Ur-Energy is headquartered in Colorado and was founded in Canada.
"In just 90 days, employees can be assigned to the group, meetings held, and proposals for foreign companies to continue in the US The US uranium business is unclear as to what they can agree on," Fields said.
Zak Podmore is a member of Report for America Corps and writes about conflicts and changes in San Juan County for The Salt Lake Tribune.