Cheney Talks About the Need to Boost US Uranium Supply
Representative Liz Cheney spoke on a podcast with Dan Newhouse, Congressional Western Caucus chairman, about the need to increase the U.S. uranium supply, according to a press release put out by Cheney's office.
Cheney said that the U.S. needs to increase its domestic production of uranium and not rely on Russia, where the U.S. got 16% of its uranium supply in 2020, with the most coming from Canada and Kazakhstan at 22%.
"And I think, you know, the challenge right now is, our own domestic production has been down pretty close to zero," Cheney said. "And we have, as you pointed out, been importing uranium, particularly from Russia. And as we all watch the tragedy that's unfolding, in the brutality of the Russian attack on Ukraine, it is just really brought home, once again, how important it is for us not to rely on Russia, in particular, as a source of uranium...we're in a situation where we have this tremendous treasure and natural resource that can do so much, both in terms of nuclear energy as a source of clean energy going forward, can contribute and add to the coal and the oil and natural gas that we're so blessed with in Wyoming. But also, fundamentally important for our national security."
Cheney said it is important to put uranium back on the U.S. Geological Survey's list of critical minerals after it was taken off the 2022 list because uranium is defined as a fuel mineral and not a critical mineral.
"In terms of, you know, in particular, the Department of Defense, making clear that uranium is crucial, that the supply of uranium for our defense industry is a matter of national security," Cheney said. "And unfortunately, it was removed this year, or maybe it was in ‘21. But it was removed from the list. And we've worked in a number of ways, both through the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] process. I introduced an amendment to the NDAA, which made it into the House version, which would have put uranium back on the critical minerals list. Unfortunately, it was stripped out in the Senate...And because we're in the minority, unfortunately, our Republican en bloc didn't succeed. But it's really, it's something we need to continue to push...but we'll do everything we can from a legislative perspective to urge them to make sure that they add uranium onto that list again."
In April, Cheney, the vice-chair of the Congressional Western Caucus, and Newhouse signed a letter addressed to Jennifer Granholm, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, expressing concerns about the national uranium reserve, after the DOE had requested public comment on establishing a possible reserve.
Jeremy Adler, deputy chief of staff for Cheney's office, said they have not received a response to the April letter.
Cheney said on the podcast that she hopes the U.S. is able to set up a uranium reserve so as not to have to rely on Russia for a mineral like uranium.
"Russia has, and continues to, really weaponize their resources. And so, whether you're talking about natural gas or whether you're talking about uranium, we know that they will, you know, use the fact that other countries become dependent on their resources for energy supplies as blackmail for the kind of just brutal regime and brutal policies that they're putting in place...So, when you look at something that's as important as uranium, and the fact that it is necessary both for our energy supply and for our security, and for our defense enterprise, we really do need to do everything we can domestically to increase our own production," Cheney said. "And so, some of that includes making sure that the administration follows through on its word to establish the uranium reserve and to purchase domestic uranium into the reserve."