Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Kristine Svinicki responded to questions raised by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) regarding a key aspect of the Uranium One deal, agreeing that the Obama Administration had not "fully depicted" the complexity of the transaction which ultimately gave the Kremlin control over 20% of US uranium.
“I would note that, as your letter makes clear, the responses you have received have not fully depicted the complexity of this issue” -Kristine Svinicki, NRC Chair
Svinicki's response fell short of agreeing with Barrasso that he had been 'misled' over the deal to export yellowcake uranium from the Senator's home state of Wyoming out of the country.
Barrasso says he was given 'misleading' answers on whether or not Russian mined US uranium would be allowed to leave the country, based on revelations from The Hill which revealed the Obama administration allowed the uranium to leave the country by 'piggy-backing' onto an export license held by shipping company, RSB Logistic Services Inc.
Rep. John Barrasso (R-WY)
In a Monday letter to the NRC and the Energy Department, Barrasso wrote:
Prior to the approval of the sale [of Uranium One], I wrote to then-President Barack Obama registering my strong concerns regarding Russian control over American uranium production facilities and Russia's ability to ship U.S. uranium overseas. I also requested immediate notification should ARMZ file for a license to export U.S. uranium. Based on information that has recently come to light, I now believe the response I received, and the process by which I received it, were both misleading.
On March 21, 2011, former NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko responded to my letter on behalf of then-President Obama stating:
‘At this time, neither Uranium One Inc. nor ARMZ holds a specific NRC export license. In order to export uranium from the United States, Uranium One, Inc. or
ARMZ would need to apply for and obtain a specific NRC license authorizing the export of uranium for use in reactor fuel’
The NRC staff made a similar statement in their recommendation to approve the transfer control of Uranium One to ARMZ, stating:
"before the licensee may export uranium to a foreign country, they must first comply with the NRC's regulations and seek a specific license for such purpose."
Recent reporting by The Hill uncovered that Uranium One was able to export uranium without obtaining a specific export license. Beginning in 2012, Uranium One exported U.S. uranium by ‘piggy-backing’ as a supplier on an export license held by the shipping company, RSB Logistic Services Inc.
Barrasso originally wrote to the Obama administration in 2010 with concerns over Russia's ability to export uranium overseas. In 2011, Obama-appointed NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko off the letter, noting the company would need an export license.
Barrasso says this was misleading during a Wednesday Senate hearing, stating “I specifically raised concerns about future exports of U.S. uranium by Uranium One,” adding “I believe the Obama administration’s response to my letter was at best misleading.”
Following Barrasso's comments, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works requested that the NRC and the Energy Department produce documents related to the Obama administration's response to the 2010 letter. Barrasso says he has evidence that the Energy Department misled him on their role in approving the uranium exports, and pointed out the enormous loophole which allowed Uranium One to export without a license.
“Uranium One did not need a specific NRC license to export U.S. uranium,” said Barrasso, adding “Instead, Uranium One only needed to be, and later was, listed as a supplier on a transport company’s NRC export license.”
The New York Times covered the Uranium One story in 2015, detailing donations which poured into the Clinton Foundation from individuals associated with the deal - which was later found to be upwards of $140 million. Meanwhile, a series of follow-up reports from The Hill have filled in the gaps with several bombshells, including:
- The FBI had a mole deep within the Russian uranium industry who gathered evidence of millions of dollars routed to the Clinton Foundation by Russian nuclear officials.
- The mole says there is a video showing Russians stuffing a briefcase full of bribe money, joking about Americans.
- Bill Clinton met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at his Moscow estate right before the Uranium One deal was approved, which was the same day he collected a $500,000 check for a speech to a Russian investment bank which issued a favorable rating to Uranium One stock.
As he prepared to collect a $500,000 payday in Moscow in 2010, Bill Clinton sought clearance from the State Department to meet with a key board director of the Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom — which at the time needed the Obama administration’s approval for a controversial uranium deal, government records show.
- There was an internal scramble at the FBI to preserve records from all of the agencies which approved the Uranium One deal, as uncovered by Twitter user 'Katica' after pouring through emails obtained via FOIA request.