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French nuclear giant AREVA struggles to clean up its dirty reputation in Niger

several NGOs have decried the French company’s rosy picture of its activities in northern Niger. The president of local NGO Aghir In Man, Almoustapha Alassane, has accused Areva of poisoning water and air near its mining sites, blaming uranium contamination for several “mysterious” deaths in the region.

Kidnapping comes as French nuclear giant Areva works on image, France24 , 17 Sept 10, The kidnapping of seven foreign nuclear employees in Niger comes as the French nuclear giant Areva is trying to improve its image in a region threatened by robbery, widespread resentment, and radical Islamism.”In nearly 40 years, Areva didn’t care at all for the locals. But in the last few years, Areva changed its strategy and started implementing development projects”, says Moussa Kaka, RFI’s correspondent in Niger.

French nuclear giant under fire

Repeated clashes between Niger’s military and Tuareg rebels over mining profits triggered diplomatic tensions in 2007 between Paris and the Nigerien government. At that time, former President Mamadou Tandja openly accused Areva of funding the Tuareg rebellion in order to discourage them from attacking its mining infrastructure.

Niger’s uranium reserves are critical for France, whose large network of nuclear power plants relies on the former French colony for 50 percent of its fuel.

Areva has been operating for some 42 years in Niger, where the state-controlled company employs 2,500 people – including many French expats. The nuclear giant maintains a dominant position in this strategic region, where it plans to start mining another huge uranium deposit in Imouraren in the coming years.

Besides alleged bribes made to Tuareg rebels, Areva was also criticised by several NGOs for polluting underground aquifers, aggravating a chronic water shortage, and exposing its employees to uranium contamination……..

several NGOs have decried the French company’s rosy picture of its activities in northern Niger. The president of local NGO Aghir In Man, Almoustapha Alassane, has accused Areva of poisoning water and air near its mining sites, blaming uranium contamination for several “mysterious” deaths in the region.

In a bid to avoid further controversy, Areva has decided to set up a centre — in partnership with several NGOs — to monitor the local population’s health.

France24 – Kidnapping comes as French nuclear giant Areva works on image

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September 18, 2010 - Posted by | Niger, spinbuster, Uranium | , , , , , , , , , ,

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