Corporate Blog

A Note On Domestic Uranium

Headlines have been made recently about the US Committee on Foreign Investment and the US State Department’s 2009 approval of the sale of American Uranium assets to Russian interests.

The New York times quotes Sergei Kiriyenko, CEO of acquiring company Rosatom, telling Vladimir Putin that “Few could have imagined in the past that we would own 20 percent of U.S. reserves,”.

Colin Chilcoat over at oilprice.com correctly points out that, despite Russia technically owning 20% of American uranium production making an appealing headline, the uranium in question is still in the US, and exporting it is a whole seperate process, subject to its own set of rules.

 

Still, it’s somewhat disingenuous to say this uranium is now Russia’s, to do with what it pleases, or to suggest that any amount of the uranium will end up in Iran. The current licenses – held by the US-based subsidiaries and approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission – do not allow exports from any U1H US facility.

 

That isn’t to say that Russian ownership of those assets isn’t viewed as a concern by some in the industry and government. The owners of those mines could stop production for any number of reasons, taking that supply out of available reserves. But Russian control of that specific production, and its availability to bad actors isn’t a primary concern.

The concern, both in government and in the population relates any an assurance that there will be steady, safe production of domestic uranium if production capacity is reduced for any reason. America produced about 750 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from nuclear sources in 2011, almost 19% of the total production from all sources.

Texas Rare Earth Resources’ Round Top Mountain hosts uranium as a by-product of rare earth minerals. The company has recently signed an offtake agreement with UG USA inc, a subsidiary of Areva, to deliver up to 1.5 million lbs of U3O8. The monetization of this byproduct is a key milestone in Round Top Mountain’s development as strategic asset and source of heavy rare earth elements used in a wide range of emergent technologies.

 

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