Joe Biden says sanctions have ‘crippled’ Russian economy
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The US is reportedly considering slapping down sanctions on Rosatom, which could cripple Russia’s nuclear power and uranium mining industries. The company is a critical supplier of fuel and technology to nuclear power plants across the globe. Rosatom’s subsidiaries account for around 35 percent of global uranium enrichment.
The company has agreed to export the fuel which powers nuclear plants to a number of European countries.
But the Biden Administration is now said to be consulting with the nuclear power industry about the potential impact the sanctions could bring.
The company is also a critical backbone of the Russian economy, which has already received heavy blows after central banks and oligarchs were targeted by the West.
Now, Russia is set for another blow with the latest round of potential sanctions.
It comes as Russia’s energy sector already took a huge hit when major energy giants like Shell, BP and Exxon pulled out of projects the companies had poured billions of pounds of investment into.
And it also comes as the EU look set to permanently scupper energy ties with Russia after publishing its new energy strategy.
The strategy details how the bloc will end all oil and gas imports from Russia by 2030, and slash those imports by two-thirds by the end of the year.
The move is likely to batter the Russian economy, which sees huge profits from its gas exports to Europe as it supplies 40 percent of the continent’s gas.
But Russia does export significant amounts of nuclear fuel too, meaning fresh sanctions on Rosatom could be damaging too.
Uranium Producers of America had been calling on the White House to ban Russian uranium imports over the last few days.
The US has also committed to banning Russian oil imports, with Mr Biden warning that the move would no doubt bring higher energy prices domestically as “defending freedom is going to cost”.
The US’ nuclear sector will likely suffer too as a result of the sanctions.
But as with sanctions on oil and gas, the West appears to compromise on price rises to slash ties with Putin and encourage him to end the war in Ukraine.
Chris Gadomski, a nuclear industry analyst with Bloomberg NEF, said: “We can’t afford to have Russian uranium and enrichment.
“Russian uranium is cheaper than other global sources while U.S. production is negligible.”
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Now, countries that usually rely on Russia for enriched uranium imports may look to other countries such as France, Japan and China.
Maria Korsnick, chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, said that the US is in “good shape” for short term supplies of enriched uranium.
In 2020, 16 percent of the UK’s electricity came from nuclear power plants.
In 2019, nuclear supplied 17 percent of the country’s electricity.
Germany is in the process of completely phasing out nuclear power as enriched uranium creates highly radioactive waste.
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