New US sanctions may threaten Russia's nuclear industry

The new USA sanctions bill imposes restrictions on the importation of low-enriched uranium from Russia until 2031 which might affect the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.

The newspaper Kommersant reports that this measure may affect the key market of Rosatom. In 2017, Rosatom's Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary that works mostly with nuclear power plants, received more than 40% of its revenue from exports of low-enriched uranium to the United States.

Earlier, the USA established quotas for commercial contracts on the import of Russian uranium. In 2030, the supply limit will drop to 375.8 tons. TENEX may be affected with this reduction in limits, as their contracts extend beyond 2020.

The US market is the largest for TENEX. In 2017, out of a total sale of $1.7 billion from export, about $700 million was from the US market. TENEX has already experienced difficulties in the world market due to falling prices for uranium enrichment.

US nuclear power depends heavily on uranium imports and enrichment. Now, the United States has a second provider of enrichment services: European Urenco. Because of that, US sanctions against Russia haven’t affected Rosatom yet. However, recently implemented quotas for the purchase of uranium for nuclear power plants could seriously change the situation.

  Russia, US sanctions on Russia, Rosatom, Russian nuclear industry