The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has kick started a process to initiate a US strategic uranium reserve, by issuing a solicitation to purchase up to an estimated one million pounds of domestically-produced U3O8. The Request for Proposal (RFP) is for purchase of uranium "provided by a vendor that has produced uranium at a domestic uranium recovery facility at any time since 1 January 2009”. It defines a uranium recovery facility as a licensed uranium mining, in-situ leach or milling facility. The vendor is not required to be currently producing uranium.
However, the uranium must be from inventory already in storage at the Honeywell Metropolis Works uranium conversion facility in Metropolis, Illinois, and must not have been "exchanged, swapped, or augmented with uranium imported from foreign countries and shall not have any peaceful-use or end-use restrictions”.
The government expects to make up to four individual awards of 100,000 to 500,000 pounds U3O8 for the total of 1 million pounds U3O8 (385 tU). The deadline for proposals is 1 August.
The US Congress allocated funding in its 2020 budget for the establishment of the reserve, to address challenges to the production of domestic uranium and ensure a backup supply in the event of a significant market disruption. US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in May confirmed to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that DOE would make purchases for the reserve during this calendar year.