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France’s nuclear ”energy independence” is a fake, as it has to import all its uranium fuel

As the Ukraine crisis continues to push fuel prices up, France’s
championing of nuclear power as a way of ensuring its energy sovereignty
sounds great.

But a group of researchers says it’s a red herring given
France imports all its uranium. Production of nuclear power relies on
uranium – a metal ore found in rocks, and in seawater, in many parts of
the world. When France first developed nuclear following the 1973 oil
crisis, it produced some of its own uranium – reaching a peak of 2,634
tonnes in 1980.

But by the end of the 1990s, France stopped building new
plants and its last uranium mine was closed in 2001. Of the 138,230 tonnes
of uranium imported between 2005 and 2020 official Euratom data shows three
quarters came from just four countries: Kazakhstan (27,7France has control
over its uranium supplies because they’re not concentrated in one region of
the world according to French nuclear group Orano (formerly Areva).
Morevoer, 44 percent of the uranium comes from OECD countries its director
general Phillipe Knoche said.

But a group of French researchers and
specialists say France’s reliance on imported uranium “poses a serious
challenge to the idea that nuclear power allows France to ensure its energy
independence”. In an open letter published in Le Monde daily on Tuesday
they write: “We are as dependent on foreign countries for uranium as we
are for gas and oil.” “France’s energy independence is a red herring,
it’s utopian,” socio-anthropologist Eric Hahonou, one of the
signatories, told RFI.48 tonnes), Australia (25,804 tonnes), Niger (24,787)
and Uzbekistan (22,197).

 RFI 23rd Feb 2022



February 26, 2022 - Posted by | France, politics

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