The nuclear industry in the United States: perspectives and features
In December 2018, the Creator of Microsoft and Windows, billionaire bill gates said that the future of his country is directly related to nuclear power plants. According to gates, only nuclear power plants do not produce greenhouse gases and, therefore, are the most friendly to the environment. The billionaire decided to neglect the growing share of renewable sources.
Bill gates also noted that nuclear energy, like no other, requires innovation. In other cases, the danger of disasters is relevant. What are the prospects for nuclear power in the United States? Immediately after the iron curtain fell between the countries, America began to import Soviet (later – Russian) enriched uranium. This was due to the cheapness: fuel from overseas cost for Americans about 12 times cheaper. Feature in technologies: in Russia, the uranium is enriched in centrifuges, and in the States – through gas diffusion. After the reduction of weapons in Russia formed more than 500 tons of highly enriched fuel. Through simple manipulation of these stocks also turned into a “peaceful atom”. Back in 1994, between Russia and the United States signed a contract and two dozen tons were loaded on ships.
The weapon atom ended in 2013. By that time, Rosatom had signed a Treaty on uranium enrichment for the United States. Deliveries of nuclear fuel from the United States to Russia are prohibited, so the countries had to use workarounds. Rosatom acquired the canadian firm Uranium One. This entity owns mines from the States, Australia, Kazakhstan and other countries. Based on this, the US imported uranium is not in Russia, but as it were in Canada.
It should be noted that the trade in peaceful atoms served as a powerful stimulus to the normalization of the Russian economy after the crisis of the 90s of the twentieth century.
The nuclear industry in the United States: when it gets addicted
As a result, in the nuclear power industry of the States there is a situation when it is dictated by conditions from the outside. In particular, the price of raw materials has already increased significantly several times. Positive cooperation with Russia – saved billions of dollars. But it was not without negativity. Centrus tried to launch the first US factory to enrich nuclear fuel with centrifuges. The idea was not successful, including thanks to Russia: why invest millions in your production, if there is a ready-made overseas?
As a result, the US has the fifth largest uranium enrichment capacity in the world, but only for expensive gas diffusion technology. Consequently, problems with the supply of fuel from other countries can lead to the collapse of the industry. Especially when you consider that the internal deposits can cover only 11% of the needs of the country.