When Russia invaded Ukraine, panic gripped Europe’s nuclear experts—the civilian variety, that is. Ukraine, where 15 reactors relied on Russia for their uranium, rushed to sign an unusually long 12-year deal with Canada. European utilities, also reliant on Russia, drew the maximum they could under other contracts. Most exposed were operators in Finland and eastern Europe that owned Russian-made reactors, which only Russian firms knew how to feed. Finding an American rival that could bundle uranium rods into the hexagonal blocks such plants demand took a year. Now they are searching for the metal needed to restart the atomic Tetris.
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