Niger coup sparks concerns about French, EU uranium dependency – by Giorgio Leali (Politico EU – July 31, 2023)

The military coup in Niger is raising fears, especially in France, over its potential impact on the import of uranium to power nuclear plants.

Niger supplies 15 percent of France’s uranium needs and accounts for a fifth of the EU’s total uranium imports. Orano, France’s state-controlled nuclear fuel producer, is continuing its activities in Niger and monitoring the situation, a company spokesperson said in a statement emailed to POLITICO, stressing that “our priority is to maintain the safety of our employees in the country.”

The French government and energy experts were quick to stress that the tensions will not have any immediate impact on France’s needs for uranium as extraction is continuing and, should it stop, existing stocks could still cover approximately two years.

“France is not dependent on any one site, company or country to ensure the security of supply for its power plants,” said an official from France’s energy ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to be named. “The situation in Niger poses no risk to France’s security of supply for natural uranium,” the official stressed.

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