Wyoming Treasurer asks for White House support on uranium

WYOMING — Encouraged by recent statements from President Trump promoting concerning the advancement of uranium production in the US, the Wyoming State Treasurer offered the Cowboy State’s help as the nation’s leading producer and urged the White House to help domestic mining.

State Treasurer Curt Meier on Tuesday sent letters to President Donald Trump and other key officials asking them to advance “stable and secure” domestic uranium mining.

“Wyoming is home to the largest uranium mining operations in the United States,” Meier stated in the letters. “This industry is vital for the nation and for the economic wellbeing of our communities.”

USGS Wyoming uranium production. (Wikipedia)

Meier noted, however, that the number of Wyomingites employed by the uranium industry today is less than half of the number employed in 2013. Meier said helping Wyoming’s uranium companies to continue their operations is important to the state and the nation as a whole.

Wyoming production of uranium has dropped significantly from its heyday in the late 1970s/early 1980s, but has been on the rise since 2010.

Pending final numbers, it is believed that domestic uranium producers supplied less than 2 percent of the needs of all US power plants in 2018. Additionally, international treaties mandate that US nuclear ships and submarines must be powered by domestic uranium.

“If there were not enough US plants to handle the needed supply, the result will be a profound and direct threat to our national security,” Meier said. “The uranium mining industry in Wyoming welcomes the opportunity to compete in a fair global marketplace. In fact, the industry would flourish in an open market committed to worker safety and environmental safeguards.”

In addition to President Trump, letters were sent to Dr. Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, and Ambassador John R. Bolton, National Security Advisor. The President has 90 days to act and offer recommendations on a report submitted April 15 by the Department of Commerce that outlines the effects of uranium imports on national security.

Uranium quick facts

  • Wyoming is America’s leader in uranium production with an estimated 665.6 thousand pounds produced in 2018—about 78% of American production.
  • Wyoming uranium operations employed an estimated 200 people in 2018.
  • More than 13% of the world’s electricity is generated from uranium in nuclear reactors.
  • Uranium is the second heaviest metal in the periodic table.
  • Uranium actually occurs in most rocks and is one of the most common elements in the Earth’s crust.
  • The element was discovered in 1789 by Martin Klaproth, a German chemist.
  • Uranium was formed in supernova, about 6.6 billion years ago, and provides the main source of heat inside the Earth.
  • Uranium is so dense it is used in the keels of yachts and as counterweights for aircraft control surfaces, as well as radiation shields.

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