In 2008 George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He was also the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.
Notably, the deal highlighted in the article—which took place in three separate transactions between 2009 and 2013—gave the Russians ownership of 20 percent of the uranium reserves located under US soil. The New York Times article was premised on the suggestion that the Uranium One sale might pose a strategic threat to the US and other countries that rely on nuclear power for electricity production, if Russia were to use its control of the market to increase prices or restrict production or export of uranium for political purposes. The Times article contends that "the deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought [Russian President Vladimir] Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain" and calls Putin "a man known to use energy resources to project power around the world."
Russia Invested and owns 20% Of All USA Uranium One
Times report and an upcoming book from the Hoover Institute’s Peter Schweizer have refocused attention on a 2008 blockbuster uranium deal involving Russia, the United States, and a Canadian company Uranium One. Pushing connections and presidential candidacies aside – the Clintons’ complicity is still very much speculation at this point – lets return to the deal and take a look at the US nuclear industry and, globally, the rise of Rosatom.
The saga begins in 2009 when, after roughly a year of negotiations, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, acting though its subsidiary and Mining Division platform ARMZ, purchased a nearly 20 percent stake in Toronto-based Uranium One. The following year, ARMZ increased its stake to more than 51 percent – a deal that required Kazakh and Canadian regulatory approvals in addition to clearance by the US Committee on Foreign Investment. In 2013, ARMZ paid roughly $2.8 billion for the remaining 48 percent and full control of Uranium One. Finally, in that same year, Rosatom assumed direct ownership of the company, reorganizing it under Uranium One Holding (U1H) and delisting it from the Toronto stock exchange. Related: Russia To Power Arctic Drilling With Floating Nuclear Reactors
Among U1H’s assets are a handful of US projects and exploration tracts. The most advanced among them are Jab and Antelope, Moore Ranch, and Willow Creek – all of which are in Wyoming, developed under the auspices of Uranium One USA and Uranium One Americas. The Willow Creek project is their only currently active operation.
So, to further answer the lead question: Russia, via Rosatom and U1H, owns roughly 20 percent of US uranium production capacity. The share of US reserves is much less clear as economic constraints significantly muddy the picture. Looking at actual production, U1H, via Willow Creek, produced an estimated 210 tons of uranium, or 11 percent of the 1887.5 tons extracted in the US in 2014.
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. Related: Health Risks From Fukushima Disaster Greatly Exaggerated
The truth is, the US uranium industry as its currently built isn’t all that American. In fact, it’s mostly Canadian. Qualms over perceived threats to national security are misplaced, though not entirely dismissible. The deal further illustrates an already pronounced trend of the decline of US nuclear capabilities and influence at all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle.
Post-Fukushima – and post-shale gas revolution – US nuclear employment has fallen more than 34 percent and exploration and development drilling is down over 80 percent. Relatively low-grade uranium and low global prices stunt the value of US mines in the short- to medium-term. Further out, stricter regulation and a heavier reliance on the private sector, limit the industry’s potential abroad relative to its competitors. Related: Tesla Could Be Changing The Dynamics Of Global Energy
Perhaps more importantly, the deal speaks to Rosatom’s aggressive new growth. Already the world’s most comprehensive nuclear services vendor, Rosatom is now one of the top three producers of uranium by volume worldwide. For the most part, the prize was Kazakhstan and not the United States, which is a symbolic victory at best. U1H’s Kazakh production now accounts for approximately 56 percent of Rosatom’s total production, both domestic and abroad. At 4,269 tons it’s also more than 20 percent of Kazakhstan’s total uranium production.
Rosatom’s downstream movements are just as well-defined. The company’s overseas order portfolio was up 9 percent to $73 billion in 2013, after 23 percent growth in 2012. Long a fixture in developing markets, Rosatom is turning its capable sights to the western world.
Owners and operators of U.S. commercial nuclear power reactors purchased nearly 47 million pounds of uranium from U.S. and foreign suppliers during 2010; 92% of this total was of foreign origin.
Historically, U.S. owners and operators have purchased the majority of their uranium from foreign sources. Russia, Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan, and Namibia represent the top five countries of origin for U.S. uranium, and together account for 85% of total U.S. uranium purchases in 2010. Owners and operators of U.S. commercial nuclear power plants purchased uranium from a total of 14 different countries in 2010.
Preparing uranium for use as fuel in nuclear reactors involves a complex process of mining, refinement, and enrichment. EIA's 2010 Uranium Marketing Annual Report presents data on purchases and sales of uranium contracts and market requirements, enrichment services, and other information pertaining to feed, loaded uranium, and inventories.
This report provides an estimate of how soon Iran could have fueled a nuclear weapon before the implementation of the new nuclear agreement reached in 2015. It is phrased in the present tense from the standpoint of a reader looking forward from the autumn of 2015, shortly after the agreement was reached. The data below, which are based on reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency, describe Iran’s uranium stockpile, its centrifuges, and the rate at which its nuclear capacity had grown.
- By using the approximately 9,000 first generation centrifuges operating at its Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant as of October 2015, Iran could theoretically produce enough weapon-grade uranium to fuel a single nuclear warhead in less than 2 months. This timetable is longer if Iran operates fewer centrifuges, or feeds the machines with natural uranium rather than low-enriched uranium.