Uranium production in the U.S. last year was the lowest in nearly 70 years, the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a statement on Monday.
The U.S. produced 1.47 million pounds of uranium concentrate in 2018, based on preliminary production data, the EIA said.
This was the fourth consecutive year of declines in uranium production in the country, and also marked the lowest uranium production in the U.S. since 1950, it added.
Uranium production in the U.S. peaked in 1980 when it reached 43.7 million pounds, the EIA said, adding that it has remained below 5 million pounds annually for more than 20 years.
Since uranium is key for energy generation in nuclear power plants, American nuclear plant owners and operators had to turn to foreign sources to import uranium due to the fall in domestic production.
"Canada has historically been the largest single source of imported uranium, followed by Australia, Russia, and Kazakhstan, countries in which the cost of uranium is lower than in the U.S.," the statement said.
Uranium concentrate, which is the first step in the nuclear fuel production process, was produced at seven facilities in the U.S. last year -- one uranium mill in the state of Utah, and six plants in the states of Wyoming and Nebraska, according to the EIA.
By Ovunc Kutlu