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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 most-used fuel 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. Economically recoverable uranium reserves are located in the western United States, Australia, Canada, Central Asia, Africa, and South America.

Uranium production in the United States peaked in 1980, and uranium purchases by U.S. nuclear power plant operators from domestic suppliers peaked in 1981. Since 1992, the majority of uranium purchased by U.S. nuclear power plant operators was imported.

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Owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors purchased 40.5 million pounds of U3O8e (equivalent) from U.S. and foreign suppliers during 2022.

  • Sources and percentage shares of total U.S. purchases of uranium in 2022 were:
  • Canada27%
  • Kazakhstan25%
  • Russia12%
  • Uzbekistan11%
  • Australia9%
  • Six other countries combined 16%
Data source: Uranium Marketing Annual Report, Table 3, June 2023
Note: The six other countries include Germany, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, and the United States with country data withheld to protect individual company data.

Last updated: August 23, 2023, with data available from source reports as indicated.