The Trump administration has reportedly extended the deadline for a working group to submit recommendations on how to support the US uranium-mining and nuclear industries.
The Nuclear Fuel Working Group, which was supposed to deliver its report by October 10, will have up to another 30 days to find ways to reinvigorate domestic nuclear fuel production, according to a US Department of Commerce spokesman cited in a report by S&P Global Platts.
The move from US President Donald Trump to establish the Nuclear Fuel Working Group came as a result of the Section 232 probe into foreign uranium.
No official deadline extension has been announced yet, but on Wednesday (October 16), uranium miner Energy Fuels (TSX:EFR,NYSEAMERICAN:UUUU) said that by establishing the working group, Trump began the most comprehensive review of the nation’s nuclear fuel supply chain in decades.
“While we would like to see quick action from the Trump administration, we are glad to see the working group is taking the time required to get these vitally important issues right,” Mark Chalmers, president and CEO of Energy Fuels, said in a statement.
Energy Fuels, together with Ur-Energy (TSX:URE,NYSEAMERICAN:URG), played a pivotal role in spearheading the Section 232 investigation, which was launched last year. The companies had voiced concerns over the quality of uranium being brought in from around the world.
According to the Energy Information Administration, most uranium purchased by US users every year comes from foreign countries including Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan and Russia. Domestic supply only accounts for about 10 percent of the total.
As the world’s largest consumer of U3O8, the US spends roughly US$2 billion annually on importing the energy fuel from around the globe. Uranium is used in the US to power roughly 20 percent of the country’s electricity and 60 percent of its clean, carbon-free electricity.
Prior to the Section 232 decision, US producers advocated for a domestic quota of anywhere between 15 and 25 percent, but utilities companies did not support such a move, arguing that uranium is plentiful and that allies like Australia and Canada are reliable suppliers.
In April, after a year-long probe, the US Department of Commerce submitted its report and recommendations to Trump, who decided to establish the Nuclear Fuel Working Group instead of implementing the widely expected quota system. Reactions from uranium-mining companies and market watchers were diverse.
Uncertainty regarding the outcome of Section 232 put pressure on prices during the third quarter, keeping the fuel below the US$26 per pound mark. Prices are currently sitting at US$25.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Energy Fuels is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.