WASHINGTON – A plea from uranium mining companies and nuclear power plant operators for tax breaks and other federal financial boosts is going before President Donald Trump, as his administration studies reviving the U.S. uranium industry in the name of national security. Trump is scheduled to receive recommendations Thursday from a task force of national security, military and other federal officials about ways to revive U.S. uranium mining, which has lagged against global competition amid low uranium ore prices. Uranium is a vital component for the country's nuclear arsenal, submarines and nuclear power plants. U.S. uranium users get about 10 percent of their supply from domestic sources, the federal Energy Information Administration has said. Most of the rest comes from Canada and Australia, followed by Russia and former Soviet republics.
There are miles of pipes at a closed uranium enrichment plant in Piketon, Ohio, that no living creature can safely enter. So DOE will use a couple custom robots. Robots have found an important calling working in radioactive environments. In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, teams of Japanese roboticists have created a small army of robots capable of surviving, if only for a few minutes, inside the compromised reactor cores. One of those robots recently transmitted the first photos of nuclear debris from the site.
After the Trump administration announced its sanctions in May, Iran set a two-month deadline for the European signatories to come up with a strategy to ease the economic impact. Iran began to surpass the enrichment limits on Sunday because the Europeans had not provided any help, and Tehran set another 60-day deadline before it will take further steps beyond the limits in the 2015 deal. Less than 1 percent of naturally occurring uranium is U-235, a highly radioactive isotope, and enrichment means increasing that level. The 2015 agreement limited Iran to producing uranium that is no more than 3.67 percent U-235, a typical level of enrichment for use in a nuclear power plant. Before the pact was signed, Iran had raised some of its uranium stockpile to 20 percent, which it said was needed for a research reactor.
FILE - In this file photo dated Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif answers questions from lawmakers in an open session of parliament in Tehran, Iran, explaining the nuclear deal with world powers. Iran is to receive a huge shipment of natural uranium from Russia to compensate it for exporting tons of reactor coolant, according to unidentified Iranian diplomats Monday Jan. 9, 2017, in a move approved to keep Tehran committed to a landmark nuclear pact.