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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Uranium Reserves Top 1 Million Tons

Itar-TassKiriyenko, right, attending a groundbreaking ceremony for a nuclear power unit in the Voronezh region last week.
ANGARSK -- The country has about 850,000 tons of uranium in reserves and resources and more than 1 million tons if joint ventures abroad are included, Federal Atomic Energy Agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko said Friday.

Kiriyenko said Russia was producing slightly more than 3,200 tons per year of yellowcake, a uranium-based commodity used to fuel nuclear power reactors.

"Our confirmed reserves and resources are about 850,000 tons within Russia," Kiriyenko said on the sidelines of a conference. "Our reserves are more than 1 million tons if we include our joint ventures abroad, including our joint venture in Kazakhstan."

Russia has plans to become the world's third-largest holder of uranium ore in the next few years as it looks to almost double nuclear power generation by 2030. Analysts have ranked its reserves between the third- and seventh-largest currently.

Uranium prices have soared this year to their highest since the 1970s as nuclear power returns to vogue amid high oil prices and efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Most of Russia's uranium is produced at the Priargunsk field in the Chita region, close to the border with China and Mongolia.

n A U.S. labor union said Friday that it was calling on the U.S. Commerce Department to keep in place a 15-year-old agreement limiting the imports of Russian uranium. The United Steelworker's Union warned that failure to do so could open the floodgates for more Russian imports, forcing the shutdown of U.S. production and costing more than 1,000 U.S. jobs.