That dollar amount reflects a 16.9% gain from the $2.1 billion that the US spent on overall uranium imports 5 years earlier in 2017, and a 36.2% year-over-year acceleration from 2020 to 2021.
Uranium is a silvery-white metal with unique nuclear properties. The main non-military use of uranium is as a fuel for nuclear power plants. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, nuclear power plants process a specific type of uranium known as U-235 as fuel because its atoms are split apart relatively easily.
US import data presented below is separated into two distinct forms. Enriched U-235 uranium is recorded under six-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code 284420 in contrast to 284410 for natural uranium and its compounds.
Of the total $2.4 billion in American uranium imports during 2021, 91% ($2.18 billion) was for international purchases of enriched uranium. That share compares to 9% ($216.3 million) for imported natural uranium and related compounds.
Countries Exporting Enriched Uranium to America
Below are the 8 countries from which the United States purchased $2.18 billion worth of enriched U-235 uranium during 2021. The United States has increased its enriched uranium imports by 55.3% since 2017 and by 25.4% from 2020 to 2021.
- Russia: US$645.7 million (29.6% of US imports of enriched uranium)
- Netherlands: $535 million (24.5%)
- Germany: $403.6 million (18.5%)
- United Kingdom: $393.3 million (18%)
- France: $150.8 million (6.9%)
- Japan: $50.9 million (2.3%)
- Kazakhstan: $2.7 million (0.1%)
- Belgium: $3,000 (0.0001%)
Four countries boosted their revenues from enriched uranium sold to America from 2017 to 2021, namely the Netherlands (up 175.7%), France (up 87.8%), Germany (up 84.8%) and the United Kingdom (up 75%).
The biggest loser over the 5-year period was Kazakhstan thanks to the -34.4% shrinkage in enriched uranium sales to the United States.
Countries Exporting Natural Uranium to America
Below are the 7 countries from which the United States bought $216.3 million worth of natural uranium including its compounds during 2021. America boosted its spending on imported natural uranium purchases by 943.2% from 2020 to 2021 but decreased by -66.5% since 2017.
- Canada: US$200.1 million (92.5% of US imports of natural uranium)
- Kazakhstan: $16.2 million (7.5%)
- United Kingdom: $27,000 (0.01%)
- Belgium: $10,000 (0.005%)
- France: $6,000 (0.003%)
- Czech Republic: $5,000 (0.002%)
- China: $2,000 (0.001%)
The sole gainer among America’s suppliers of natural uranium from 2017 to 2021 was the United Kingdom thanks to its 92.9% increase.
In contrast, the value of natural uranium that the US imported in 2021 shrank for suppliers in Canada (down -65.8% compared to 2017), Kazakhstan (down -65%) and France (down -53.8%).
US Uranium Suppliers Causing Trade Deficits for America
America does produce and sell its own uranium on international markets. In 2021, the United States shipped $130.5 million worth of enriched uranium to its international trade partners plus another $210.8 million worth of natural uranium.
However, American revenues from exported enriched uranium fall far short of the $2.18 billion that the US spent on imported enriched uranium thus resulting in a -$1.9 billion product category deficit in 2021.
Similarly, America shipped $210.8 million worth of natural uranium compared to $216.3 million in US imports of natural uranium thus generating America’s -$5.5 million negative trade balance for natural uranium in 2021.
Below you will find the 7 countries that caused America’s country-specific deficits from buying and selling enriched uranium on international markets, incurring a subtotal deficit of -$2.17 billion for 2021.
- Russia: -US$645.2 million (product deficit up 0.9% since 2017)
- Netherlands: -$533.7 million (up 177.2%)
- Germany: -$403.5 million (up 84.7%)
- United Kingdom: -$392.1 million (up 75.7%)
- France: -$150.7 million (up 87.6%)
- Japan: -$39.7 million (reversing a $41.7 million surplus in 2017)
- Kazakhstan: -$341,000 (reversing a $13 million surplus)
As for natural uranium, the following 5 trade partners created a subtotal US deficit totaling -$375.7 million during 2021.
- Canada: -US$42.8 million (product deficit down -92.6% since 2017)
- Kazakhstan: -$16.2 million (down -65%)
- United Kingdom: -$27,000 (reversing a $74,000 surplus)
- France: -$6,000 (down -53.8%)
- Czech Republic: -$5,000 (2017 data unavailable)
See also US Iron and Steel Imports by Supplier Countries, America’s Top Trading Partners, United States Top 10 Imports and US Aluminum Imports by Supplying Country
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