The US nuclear power industry is heavily dependent on enriched uranium supplies from Russia. If Moscow stops them, it threatens with serious consequences for American consumers. Andrey Listovsky, Director General of the Energy Development Fund, gave such an assessment in a conversation with Lenta.ru.
Russia controls the world market for unenriched uranium by about five percent. But components for nuclear reactors – fuel assemblies – are produced only by two major players, Russia and the United States, the analyst explained.
“Russia controls about 45 percent of this market. Only two countries own the technology for manufacturing assemblies for nuclear units, all the rest order finished products from them. Therefore, indeed, if Russia refuses to supply fuel assemblies, America, having exhausted its standard annual or one and a half year fuel reserves, begins to experience a shortage for generating energy at its nuclear units,” he said.
“Each nuclear power plant has a storage standard for such a resource as fuel assemblies. It, depending on the country of operation, ranges from a year to a year and a half. Right now, with all the desire, Russia cannot see the consequences of stopping making assemblies, and given the prospect, this may be a problem for America, because now they cannot increase the production of such assemblies without placing orders in Russia. The share of nuclear energy in America is comparable to Russia’s – about 20 percent. If there is a need to replace, coal and gas blocks are put into operation, this is possible. But the cost of electricity is definitely on the rise. When nuclear energy is replaced by energy from coal or gas, production becomes more expensive, ”concluded the analyst.