NATIONAL INSECURITY: Only 7 percent of the uranium delivered to U.S. nuclear power plants last year was produced in the United States…
(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) A new Department of Commerce investigation into whether imported uranium poses a national security risk serves as a reminder that Bill and Hillary Clinton played a role in reducing the availability of U.S.-owned uranium stores.
Domestic production of uranium is at or near an all-time low, at 2.44 million pounds, compared to a high of 43.7 million pounds in 1980.
And CNBC reports that “Only 7 percent of the uranium delivered to U.S. nuclear power plants last year was produced in the United States.”
For military uses and domestic consumption combined, reported Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, “our production of uranium necessary for military and electric power has dropped from 49% of our consumption to 5%.”
Safe and effective supplies of uranium obviously are of key importance, both for U.S. nuclear deterrence forces and for domestic energy supply.
Some 20 percent of U.S. energy consumption comes from nuclear power, but Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports that more than half of American reactors are losing money, to a combined tune of nearly $3 billion per year.
The Trump administration already had begun taking steps to keep American nuclear plants open, but now this new study will assess whether foreign sources – especially from Russia and its semi-vassal allies – can be trusted.
Russia and Kazakhstan together provided 38 percent of uranium used by American reactors in 2016.
Moreover, another 20 percent is supplied by Canadian-based Uranium One – which, though located in Ontario, was purchased in several stages from 2010 to 2013 by the Russian state-owned uranium monopoly called Rosatom.
Russia’s Pravda news outlet itself bragged about the purchase with a headline announcing that “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”
As even the liberal New York Times reported, “The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.”
Therein lies the Clinton connection – again, as reported by none other than the Times:
“At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.”
And: “Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.”
Finally: “Shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.”
The Times story built on some of the original reporting in the book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution.
President Trump frequently mentions the Clinton-Uranium One connection when the subject of Russian “collusion” comes up.
It is true that Secretary of State Clinton could not on her own have stopped the sale of Uranium One – only President Barack Obama could have done that.
But a strong objection to a sale like that one from any key Cabinet member on a group called the Committee on Foreign Investments often prompts a president to act.
Mrs. Clinton had previously been “a hawk” against easy approval of other sales reviewed by the committee, so that record raised questions about why her hawkishness disappeared in this case.
All that aside, the new Commerce Department review of the national security implications of imported uranium comes as a welcome development to Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, who began raising concerns about Uranium One and foreign control of American uranium as far back as 2010.
At a committee hearing in June, Enzi had specifically requested Commerce to do such an investigation.
Worrying that such outsized foreign control of our uranium could “put large parts of the power grid under the indirect influence of foreign powers,” Enzi said “this appears to be a prime example of foreign countries threatening our national security through unfair trade practices.”