US Launches National Security Probe Into Uranium Imports

US uranium producers Energy Fuels Inc. and Ur-Energy Inc. filed a petition in January asking the Commerce Department to investigate the matter under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, the same provision the president used to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

In a statement citing idle USA mines and massive layoffs in the us uranium mining sector over the past two years, Ross announced that he had accepted a petition from two USA energy companies to launch the probe.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Wednesday that he has launched a new national security investigation into uranium imports that could lead to tariffs or quotas to limit them. A second investigation focused on the threat to security posed by auto imports is ongoing.

Ross added that the US production of uranium has fallen to 5 percent of USA consumption needs from 49 percent in 1987.

Thiryy years ago, the United States produced nearly half of the uranium it consumes, but that ratio has dropped to just five per cent today, Ross said in a release.

Imposing uranium duties would deal another blow to nuclear power plants already struggling with low electricity prices and flat demand. "U.S. uranium production had been 49 percent of US requirements in 1987. Today, U.S. uranium production has dropped to only five percent of U.S. requirements".

Probes on steel and aluminum imports have led to tariffs and quotas on the metals, prompting retaliation from trading partners including Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

The Trump administration has also been involved in trade action targeting China in recent weeks, drawing retaliatory measures from China's government and causing fears of a global trade war among economists. He promised a "thorough, fair and transparent review".

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