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Nuclear explained Where our uranium comes from

The United States imports most of the uranium it uses as fuel

Uranium is the fuel most widely used by nuclear power plants for nuclear fission. Uranium is a common metal found in rocks all over the world. Uranium occurs in combination with small amounts of other elements. There are economically recoverable uranium deposits in the western United States, Australia, Canada, Central Asia, Africa, and South America.

Owners and operators of U.S. nuclear power reactors purchased the equivalent of about 46.74 million pounds of uranium in 2021.

  • Sources and percentage shares of total U.S. purchases of uranium in 2021 were:
  • Kazakhstan35%
  • Canada15%
  • Australia14%
  • Russia14%
  • Namibia7%
  • United States5%
  • Five countries combined (W)10%

Data source: Uranium Marketing Annual Report, Table 3, May 2022
Note: W = data withheld; sum of shares may not equal 100% because of independent rounding.

The chart below shows annual U.S. uranium production and the sources of uranium purchased by U.S. nuclear power plant operators from 1950 through 2021.

Click to enlarge

Last updated: July 7, 2022, with most recent data available at the time of update.