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Today in Energy

July 11, 2011

Over 90% of uranium purchased by U.S. commercial nuclear reactors is from outside the U.S.

graph of Origin of uranium purchased by U.S. nuclear power plants, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Uranium Marketing Annual Report
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Owners and operators of U.S. commercial nuclear power reactors purchased nearly 47 million pounds of uranium from U.S. and foreign suppliers during 2010; 92% of this total was of foreign origin.

Historically, U.S. owners and operators have purchased the majority of their uranium from foreign sources. Russia, Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan, and Namibia represent the top five countries of origin for U.S. uranium, and together account for 85% of total U.S. uranium purchases in 2010. Owners and operators of U.S. commercial nuclear power plants purchased uranium from a total of 14 different countries in 2010.

Preparing uranium for use as fuel in nuclear reactors involves a complex process of mining, refinement, and enrichment. EIA's 2010 Uranium Marketing Annual Report presents data on purchases and sales of uranium contracts and market requirements, enrichment services, and other information pertaining to feed, loaded uranium, and inventories.