Uranium demand is the big winner as US President rejects import cap
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US President Donald Trump has rejected a cap on uranium imports, bringing the long-running (and very disruptive) Section 232 investigation to a close for now.
The investigation was sparked by two domestic companies calling for limits on the amount of uranium that US nuclear plants sourced from overseas, citing national security concerns.
The US currently imports about 93 per cent of its commercial uranium, compared to 85.8 per cent in 2009.
The US Secretary of Commerce argued that increased production by foreign state-owned enterprises had distorted global prices and made it difficult for domestic mines to compete.
President Trump said these uranium imports did not present a national security concern “as defined under section 232 of the Act”, but he left the door open to revive and expand the domestic uranium sector in other ways.
“At this time, I do not concur with the Secretary’s finding that uranium imports threaten to impair the national security of the United States as defined under section 232 of the Act,” he said in a memorandum late Friday.
“[But] I agree with the Secretary that the US uranium industry faces significant challenges in producing uranium domestically and that this is an issue of national security.”
A working group now has 90 days to submit a report to the President, making recommendations to further enable domestic nuclear fuel production “if needed”.
Last month, Vimy Resources managing director Mike Young said there were only two possible outcomes from the 232 investigation: “good and better”.
“Because we have had 18 months of Section 232 uncertainty, the [US] utilities have been unable to write contracts,” Young says.
“They are heading to a point where they are going to need to.”
“What we are going see off the back of 232 is contracting returning and a corresponding uplift in the ‘spot price’ – or the arbitrage floor price — which drives sentiment.”