In what could be described as a win for renewable energy, the US’ largest source of uranium will not be developed.

The Washington Post has reported that the Supreme Court has sided with the state of Virginia in a stoush over the development of a 119 million pound (53 million kilogram) uranium deposit on state land.

The Trump administration and private companies had been seeking access to the deposit, but the 6-3 ruling against development seemingly leaves nuclear out in the cold.

With the Three Mile Island disaster of 1979 still fresh in the memory banks and HBO production Chernobyl currently in the public consciousness, public and legal opinion seems to be swaying against the green rock.

It leaves a larger role for renewable to provide baseline power in the future — with the addition of battery technology.

While renewable technology has largely been dismissed from the baseline power discussion because of their intermittency, the effective ruling out of nuclear development gives it a new lease on life.

New technology from the likes of Tesla has made the dream of renewables with battery storage more feasible than ever — as seen by its battery in South Australia.

In this context, battery minerals such as lithium, copper, cobalt and graphite could be given a boost by the latest ruling.

While the US could still fill the expected supply gap with more coal or gas, it has recently outlined plans to identify and exploit its own sources of ‘critical minerals’ such as those found in batteries and rare earths.

For example, the US Department of Commerce recently released a comprehensive action plan aimed at developing and securing 35 vital minerals deemed important to national security.

Among a raft of recommendations made by the department is to speed up the process of permitting.


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