(SALT LAKE CITY) — The Trump administration is asking Congress for $1.5 billion over 10 years to create a new national stockpile of U.S.-mined uranium, saying that propping up U.S. uranium production in the face of cheaper imports is a matter of vital energy security.
But some Democratic lawmakers, and market analysts across the political spectrum, charge that the Trump administration’s overall aim is really about helping a few uranium companies that can’t compete in the global market. Demand for the nuclear fuel has languished worldwide since Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster. U.S. uranium production has plummeted 96% in the last five years, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday.
Trump made the request for a new national uranium reserve in his 2021 budget request this week — the latest illustration that trying to rescue the U.S. nuclear and coal industries is a political priority for the Republican president who often invokes national security as justification.
“It’s not the responsibility of the taxpayer to bail out an industry, whether that’s uranium, solar, coal, what have you,” said Katie Tubb, a senior energy policy analyst at the conservative Washington Heritage Foundation.
The Energy Department said the plan would boost work for at least a couple of the U.S. West’s nearly dormant uranium operations, although residents near one of the mines say they fear an increase in radioactive threats.
“Whatever Trump does, we’ll be standing our ground to let the people know that we’re not going to give up,” said Yolanda Badback, a resident of White Mesa, Utah, a town of 200 people on the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation that is near a uranium mill in southern Utah.
Trump’s plan would need approval from a highly partisan Congress. Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has opposed Trump’s effort to make domestic …read more
Source:: Time – Politics