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How Much Does the U.S. Depend on Russian Uranium?

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Voronoi graphic visualizing U.S. reliance on Russian uranium

How Much Does the U.S. Depend on Russian Uranium?

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The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a ban on imports of Russian uranium. The bill must pass the Senate before becoming law.

In this graphic, we visualize how much the U.S. relies on Russian uranium, based on data from the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA).

U.S. Suppliers of Enriched Uranium

After Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Russian-produced oil and gas—yet Russian-enriched uranium is still being imported.

Currently, Russia is the largest foreign supplier of nuclear power fuel to the United States. In 2022, Russia supplied almost a quarter of the enriched uranium used to fuel America’s fleet of more than 90 commercial reactors.

Country of enrichment serviceSWU%
🇺🇸 United States3,87627.34%
🇷🇺 Russia3,40924.04%
🇩🇪 Germany1,76312.40%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom1,59311.23%
🇳🇱 Netherlands1,3039.20%
Other2,23215.79%
Total14,176100%

SWU stands for “Separative Work Unit” in the uranium industry. It is a measure of the amount of work required to separate isotopes of uranium during the enrichment process. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Most of the remaining uranium is imported from European countries, while another portion is produced by a British-Dutch-German consortium operating in the United States called Urenco.

Similarly, nearly a dozen countries around the world depend on Russia for more than half of their enriched uranium—and many of them are NATO-allied members and allies of Ukraine.

In 2023 alone, the U.S. nuclear industry paid over $800 million to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, and its fuel subsidiaries.

It is important to note that 19% of electricity in the U.S. is powered by nuclear plants.

The dependency on Russian fuels dates back to the 1990s when the United States turned away from its own enrichment capabilities in favor of using down-blended stocks of Soviet-era weapons-grade uranium.

As part of the new uranium-ban bill, the Biden administration plans to allocate $2.2 billion for the expansion of uranium enrichment facilities in the United States.

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Energy

The World’s Biggest Nuclear Energy Producers

China has grown its nuclear capacity over the last decade, now ranking second on the list of top nuclear energy producers.

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A cropped chart breaking down the biggest nuclear energy producers, by country, in 2022.

The World’s Biggest Nuclear Energy Producers

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on Apple or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Scientists in South Korea recently broke a record in a nuclear fusion experiment. For 48 seconds, they sustained a temperature seven times that of the sun’s core.

But generating commercially viable energy from nuclear fusion still remains more science fiction than reality. Meanwhile, its more reliable sibling, nuclear fission, has been powering our world for many decades.

In this graphic, we visualized the top producers of nuclear energy by their share of the global total, measured in terawatt hours (TWh). Data for this was sourced from the Nuclear Energy Institute, last updated in August 2022.

 

 

Which Country Generates the Most Nuclear Energy?

Nuclear energy production in the U.S. is more than twice the amount produced by China (ranked second) and France (ranked third) put together. In total, the U.S. accounts for nearly 30% of global nuclear energy output.

However, nuclear power only accounts for one-fifth of America’s electricity supply. This is in contrast to France, which generates 60% of its electricity from nuclear plants.

RankCountryNuclear Energy
Produced (TWh)
% of Total
1🇺🇸 U.S.77229%
2🇨🇳 China38314%
3🇫🇷 France36314%
4🇷🇺 Russia2088%
5🇰🇷 South Korea1506%
6🇨🇦 Canada873%
7🇺🇦 Ukraine813%
8🇩🇪 Germany652%
9🇯🇵 Japan612%
10🇪🇸 Spain542%
11🇸🇪 Sweden512%
12🇧🇪 Belgium482%
13🇬🇧 UK422%
14🇮🇳 India402%
15🇨🇿 Czech Republic291%
N/A🌐 Other2198%
N/A🌍 Total2,653100%

Another highlight is how China has rapidly grown its nuclear energy capabilities in the last decade. Between 2016 and 2021, for example, it increased its share of global nuclear energy output from less than 10% to more than 14%, overtaking France for second place.

On the opposite end, the UK’s share has slipped to 2% over the same time period.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has heavily relied on nuclear energy to power its grid. In March 2022, it lost access to its key Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station after Russian forces wrested control of the facility. With six 1,000 MW reactors, the plant is one of the largest in Europe. It is currently not producing any power, and has been the site of recent drone attacks.

 

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