Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming called Sunday for shutting down imports of Russian uranium and increasing U.S. production, arguing that the sales are propping up Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine.
President Biden announced March 8 that he would bar U.S. imports of Russian “oil and gas and energy,” but Mr. Barrasso said the U.S. continues to buy uranium, which fuels nuclear power plants, from Moscow.
“We in the United States are still buying uranium from Russia. I have a bill to stop that,” said Mr. Barrasso on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “We need to stop the whole thing. The sanctions so far have hurt Russia, but they have not been crippling. We need to go further. There are ways to do it. And you have to shut down Russia‘s sale of energy to places around the world.”
Mr. Barrasso, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced legislation last week to prohibit U.S. imports of uranium from Russia.
He said there is “an abundance of uranium in the United States. We need to use it.”
Mr. Barrasso’s home state is the leading uranium-producing state in the U.S. In 2019, Wyoming produced an estimated 173,000 pounds of uranium – nearly all of America’s production, according to the Wyoming Mining Association.
“Nuclear power is an important part of our electric grid. About 20% of the energy we have here is from nuclear power,” he said. “It is carbon-free energy. We need to immediately, immediately cut off the importation of uranium from Russia. That cuts off their money.”
He added that the U.S. needs to “get more self-sufficient as a nation,” which includes increasing production of critical minerals.
“We cannot let them hold a knife to our throat,” Mr. Barrasso said. “We need to be self-sufficient. It’s so critical for our own national safety and security and our future.”
He also called for more military aid to Ukraine, saying that “Ukraine can win. We just need to give them the tools they need to finish the job.”
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