Senator expanding probe into Obama-admin Uranium One deal

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Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) has expanded his investigation into the Obama-era Uranium One deal that gave Russia partial control of the U.S. uranium supply. Barrasso, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, says he was repeatedly misled by the Obama administration about the ability of the Russian company to export uranium.

In December of 2010, he addressed a letter to then President Barack Obama, warning that selling Uranium One to a Russia-controlled company would give Russia “control over a sizable portion America’s uranium production capacity.”

The controversial sale he was referring to was that of Uranium One, a Canadian mining company, to a subsidiary of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation. That deal, approved under failed presidential candidate and former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, as well as during Obama’s presidency, has been a source of continued concern.

Barrasso sent a letter to the heads of the U.S. Energy Department and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday, Fox News reports, seeking an extensive list of documents to support his investigation into the movement of that uranium. Specifically, Barrasso wants to know how much uranium has made its way out of the United States under the Russian company’s control.

According to Barrasso, in 2011, then-NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko assured him that the company did not hold a specific “NRC export license.” They, therefore, would not be able to export uranium from the United States.

But as The Hill reported last month, while the NRC never issued the license, memos show it did approve “the shipment of yellowcake uranium” from U.S. mines to Canada in 2012, through a “third party.”

In the same report, the Obama administration was said to have approved some of that material to go to Europe, “and the approval involved a process with multiple agencies.”

Instead of granting direct export to Rosatom, in 2012, the NRC reportedly “authorized an amendment to an existing export license” for a trucking firm “to simply add Uranium One to the list of clients whose uranium it could move to Canada.”

In his letter, Barrasso said that given the new information, he felt Jaczko had been “misleading” in his statements, and that the Department of Energy “chose to hide its role in approving exports,” at the time, by claiming the issue wasn’t within its “purview.”

“By stating DOE had no role in the matter, the DOE concealed the possibility of subsequent exports and their responsibility in reviewing them,” Barrasso wrote. “The DOE’s concealment, together with Chairman Jaczko’s deception, created a false narrative that there was only one agency and one process by which Uranium One could export uranium.”

Barrasso’s letter included dozens of requests for information related to the uranium transfers with a deadline of Jan. 31, 2018.

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