Will Wyoming’s New Nuclear Power Plant Use Russian Uranium?
Well, this news is bad timing.
Nobody is really happy with Russia right now. Yet here we are in energy-rich America, importing oil from them. Now, someone wants Russian uranium too?
Just like oil we obviously have enough uranium in Wyoming to fuel this power plant, once it's built.
So, what's the problem?
Before you decide, and before you choose who to get mad at, lets have closer look at the details of this story.
The company that will build the Kemmerer nuclear plant had planned to use Russian uranium. That would have caused an outcry in Wyoming, with or without the invasion of Ukraine. On the other hand, they are looking for a domestic source.
You might think that all fuel in nuclear power plants is the same. That's not the case.
This is a Natrium power plant. It's just a bit different.
But the type of fuel that is needed can be found here in Wyoming.
Wyoming legislators are working on a bill that would encourage the use of Wyoming uranium.
This is a private company, after all. That means that they can get the fuel from a source they wish. If Russian uranium is more affordable then that is where they will go.
The trick is to make Wyoming uranium the most accessible and affordable source.
It would make sense that the uranium needed should come from Wyoming as the best source. But there are some hurdles to overcome. Federal regulations among them.
Jeff Navin, TerraPower’s director of external affairs, told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that the company is in a quandary, as the only facility that can produce commercial quantities of high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) is owned and operated by Tenex in Russia, which he said was “problematic on a number of levels.”
“Recognizing this gap in the supply chain, last year, TerraPower allocated funds within the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program proposal … to help create an American competitor to Tenex, and we are working with Congress and the Department of Energy to expedite the development of domestic enrichment capability,” Navin said.(Cowboy State Daily).
“This investment has helped support the only facility in the United States currently licensed to produce HALEU, although they do not yet have the capability to produce HALEU at commercial levels,” he said.(Cowboy State Daily).
The next question we must ask is about the reliability of getting the uranium we need from another country that, at times, we are at odds with.
Also, Wyoming has enough coal, gas, and oil, plus uranium to power the nation. We don't need to become reliant on an outside source when we have everything we need right under our feet.
So, having the uranium is not the issue. We need to get at it and we need to do it in a way that is actually more affordable and less bureaucratic than is we shipped it in from another country.
Does all of this sound familiar?
America actually has more coal, natural gasses, and oil than Russia. Yet we are importing.
Go ask our government in Washington DC, because, once again, they are the problem.