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Problems of UK and EU’s uranium supply from Russia, Kazachstan and elsewhere

uranium-oreUranium from Russia, with love, Ecologist, 4th August, 2016 Uranium mining is a dirty business that we didn’t clean up but sourced out to less demanding countries, so why isn’t this being discussed in any debate about nuclear energy asks NICK MEYNEN

Amidst all the fuss about Hinkley C andother planned nuclear power plants in the EU and US, does anyone knows where the stuff that keeps these reactors buzzing comes from? Here’s a fun fact: no other country supplies so much uranium to the EU than … Russia. Putin has more than the gas valve if he wants to play games with Europe. And the degree to which the US has become dependent on non-stable foreign sources of uranium is also unprecedented.
Let’s churn on a couple of numbers first. The US now depends on imports of uranium for 94% of their total demandFor the EU it’s even 97%. More than a quarter of all uranium used in the EU comes from Russia, up from 10% in 2005 – when more befriended countries like Australia and Canada used to supply 46% of all uranium to the EU. Their combined share of exports to the EU has dropped to under 30%. These trends have geopolitical implications.

One issue is security. Reciprocal sanctions between Russia and the EU are now in place for over two years. If some recent polls in the US become reality and Trump becomes the new US president, things will get worse for the EU. Trump already hinted that a grim scenario (or much worse) could play out in Latvia or Estonia, EU countries with a Russian minority of over a quarter of the whole population. How hard can the EU bite in the hand that feeds it with the gas and uranium it so desperately needs? Putin will answer: not that hard.

Another issue is the future supply risk. Any power plant envisaged today will need uranium in 40 years from now. But both Russia and Kazachstan, the two biggest uranium exporters to the EU have plans to build new nuclear power plants for themselves. Kazachstan has gone from zero to hero: in 20 years it went from no production to supplying 40% of the world’s uranium. But aside from their own future needs, and those of nearby befriended Russia, analysts fear that mismanagement is likely to lead to a collapse in exports…………http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987988/uranium_from_russia_with_love.html

August 5, 2016 - Posted by | EUROPE, UK, Uranium

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