Enzi supports new strategy to strengthen nuclear energy production in the U.S. - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Enzi supports new strategy to strengthen nuclear energy production in the U.S.

Dry storage casks at Idaho National Laboratory can safely house spent nuclear fuel for decades, the U.S. Department of Energy says. (DOE/INL)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming’s senior United States Senator Mike Enzi’s office said on Thursday, April 23 that the senator supports a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Nuclear Fuel Working Group’s new “strategy to restore American nuclear energy leadership.”

The Nuclear Fuel Working Group was established by President Donald Trump on July 12, 2019. The new strategy outlines a number of potential actions which the DOE says aim to:

  • “enhance the positive attributes of nuclear power”
  • revive uranium mining, milling and conversion industries
  • strengthen the U.S. as a technological leader
  • increase U.S. exports

“I am pleased to see the administration working to strengthen our country’s uranium industry,” Enzi said in the release. “A strong domestic uranium industry is critical for national security. Unfortunately production in places like Wyoming have been undermined by foreign nations, such as Russia. In these especially uncertain times, it’s important to reignite this critical industry and ensure a stronger domestic uranium production at home.”

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The Department of Energy announced the new strategy on Thursday. U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette says the potential actions that would stem from the strategy would remain consistent with the country’s non-proliferation objectives and would support national security.

“The decline of the U.S. industrial base in the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle over the past few decades has threatened our national interest and national security,” Brouillette said in the release. “This Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership recognizes this challenge and lays out an array of policy options to restore America’s leadership in nuclear energy and technology. As a matter of national security, it is critical that we take bold steps to preserve and grow the entire U.S. nuclear energy enterprise. The Trump Administration is committed to regaining our competitive global position as the world leader in nuclear energy.”

The DOE adds that the U.S. has at least two “well-defined future defense needs for domestic uranium supply.” Those include:

  • low-enriched uranium needed in the production of tritium “required for nuclear weapons in the 2040s
  • highly enriched uranium needed for Navy nuclear reactors in the 2050s

“The Strategy also recognizes that U.S. national security is truly integrated with the health of the front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle – the United States needs a strong civil nuclear industry to enable national defense,” the DOE adds. “The credibility of the U.S. non-proliferation regime depends upon the viability and the health of a robust civilian nuclear energy industry and technology leadership position, including the ‘world-leading standard’ embodied by the U.S. nuclear safety regulatory structures.”

The DOE says that Trumps fiscal year 2021 budget request asks for $150 million for the DOE to “stand up a domestic uranium reserve.”

“It will begin with the purchase of uranium from U.S. mines and of U.S. conversion services,” the release states.

The DOE provides a fact sheet about the strategy online. The full strategy report is available here.