In a memorandum issued on July 12, 2019, President Trump declined to instate quotas or other restrictions on uranium imports under the authority of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, disagreeing with the assessment by the Secretary of Commerce that current import rates of uranium constitute a threat to the national security of the United States as defined under section 232 of the Act. However, in response to the "significant concerns" raised by the findings of the Secretary of Commerce, the President called for the establishment of the of the United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group to undertake a fuller analysis of the national security considerations of the nuclear fuel supply chain.
The Working Group was initially directed to report findings and recommendations to the President within 90 days of the memorandum. The original October 10, 2019 deadline has since passed. The U.S. Department of Commerce reported a 30-day extension for the Working Group. While, that deadline has also passed and the status of the Working Group is currently unknown, reports are emerging that the Working Group will recommend that the U.S. Department of Defense purchase uranium, among other measures.
On July 8, 2018, Allison Macfarlane and Sharon Squassoni published the joint op-ed "Recycle everything, America -- except your nuclear waste." In this piece, Macfarlane and Squassoni critically examine the promises of new, "advanced" reactors, many of which would require the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel for safety reasons. They conclude that recycling spent fuel is "expensive, dirty, and ultimately dangerous, " and therefore "advanced" reactors are not the solution to the nuclear waste problem.
Read the full article with the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
On Tuesday, June 25, 2019, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing titled "Uranium Mining: Contamination and Criticality."
The hearing was called in response to the Department of Interior's decision to include uranium on its 2019 Critical Minerals List. Sharon Squassoni testified that "uranium is a strategic resource but does not belong on the Critical Minerals List." Further, she stated that "some of the policy prescriptions that would apply to uranium as a critical mineral could have unintended adverse impacts" to the nuclear industry and U.S. nonproliferation leadership.
See the Natural Resources Committee's record of the hearing for footage and Squassoni's full testimony.