The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is exposing a lesser-known unexpected link between Russia and the United States: the nuclear fuel supply chain. Back in March 2022, President Biden announced sanctions on Russia’s energy exports, specifically oil and gas. But one notable export was left off of that list: uranium.
In 2021, the US relied on Russia for 14 percent of its enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. The process of enriching uranium is highly complicated and can only be done in certain countries — including Russia.
Uranium fuel starts as uranium ore, a naturally occurring radioactive material. Only very little of this ore is useful for fuel. Once mined, the ore is converted into yellowcake, which is just concentrated uranium. That…
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