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Biden signs ban on imports of Russian nuclear reactor fuel into law

Biden signs ban on imports of Russian nuclear reactor fuel into law
US President Joe Biden waves as he walks across the South Lawn of the White House to depart by Marine One, in Washington, DC, USA, 13 March 2024. Biden travels to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to deliver remarks on the economy and to attend a campaign event. EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

WASHINGTON, May 13 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden signed a ban on Russian enriched uranium into law on Monday, the White House said, in the latest effort by Washington to disrupt President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

By Timothy Gardner

The ban on imports of the fuel for nuclear power plants begins in about 90 days, although it allows the Department of Energy to issue waivers in case of supply concerns.

Russia is the world’s top supplier of enriched uranium, and about 24% of the enriched uranium used by U.S. nuclear power plants come from the country.

The law also unlocks about $2.7 billion in funding in previous legislation to build out the U.S. uranium fuel industry.

“Today, President Biden signed into law a historic series of actions that will strengthen our nation’s energy and economic security by reducing, and ultimately eliminating, our reliance on Russia for civilian nuclear power,” Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, said in a statement.

Sullivan said the law “delivers on multilateral goals we have set with our allies and partners,” including a pledge last December with Canada, France, Japan and the United Kingdom to collectively invest $4.2 billion to expand enrichment and conversion capacity of uranium.

The waivers, if implemented by the Energy Department, allow all the Russian uranium imports the U.S. normally imports through 2027.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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