Mr Trump said in a memorandum released on Friday he did not concur with a US Commerce Department investigation that found uranium imports threaten US national security.
While he said the department's findings “raise significant concerns”, he ordered the establishment of the US Nuclear Fuel Working Group, which will carry out a deeper review with input from several government agencies.
“A fuller analysis of national security considerations with respect to the entire nuclear fuel supply chain is necessary,” the memorandum said. The group will make “recommendations to further enable domestic nuclear fuel production if needed”, it said.
The potential for trade barriers on foreign uranium stemmed from an investigation into whether imported uranium ore and related products, which are essential components for the United States’ nuclear arsenal, submarines, aircraft carriers and nuclear power plants, were a security threat.
Mr Trump’s decision means that the US will not impose the quotas that the domestic uranium industry had requested, which would have limited imports to guarantee that American miners supply one-quarter of the uranium used domestically.
Two American uranium mining companies, Ur-Energy and Energy Fuels, had requested an inquiry into uranium under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act. Both businesses claimed that subsidised foreign products had flooded the American market, putting them at a competitive disadvantage, forcing them to cut jobs and putting the domestic supply of uranium at risk.
They wanted the US government set a quota to reserve 25% of the country’s nuclear market for domestic uranium producers, maintaining the viability of the US market against “state-sponsored producers” from abroad.