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Why the US and Europe still buy Russian nuclear fuel

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Washington Post or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: The West, led by the US and Europe, has curtailed Russian fossil fuel exports in response to the invasion of Ukraine
• Yet, Russia's Rosatom Corp. remains a leading force in nuclear energy, supplying about 50% of the world's enriched uranium demand

🔭 The context: Following the Fukushima incident, Western nuclear capacities waned
• Meanwhile, Russia, through Rosatom, expanded its presence across the nuclear supply chain
• As firms like Areva SA and Westinghouse Electric Co. struggled financially, Russia seized the opportunity to boost its market dominance

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: Russia's dominance poses a dependence risk for numerous nations
• Former Soviet satellites largely rely on Rosatom for fuel, and the EU gets around 30% of its enriched uranium from Russia
• Moreover, in 2022, Russia supplied the US with about 25% of its enriched uranium

⏭️ What's next: Western nations are acting to lessen their dependence on Russia through collaborative supply chain efforts and incentives for new providers
• The US has dedicated $700 million to domestic fuel supply growth, however, a total transition could span about five years

💬 One quote: "While Western countries each possess individual parts of the nuclear fuel supply chain, no single nation can compete with its [Russia's] brand of vertical integration." (Rosatom Statement)

📈 One stat: Despite global efforts to diversify, in the year following its invasion of Ukraine, Rosatom's exports surged by over 20%, making new agreements in emerging markets

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