EU says no uranium 'supply risk' after Niger military coup

AFP , Tuesday 1 Aug 2023

The military coup in major uranium producer Niger does not pose a problem for supplies of nuclear fuel for the European Union, an EU spokesman said Tuesday.

Uranium mines
The Tamgak open air uranium mine is seen at Areva s Somair uranium mining facility in Arlit, Niger, September 25, 2013. REUTERS


"There is no supply risk as such when it comes to the EU," European Commission spokesman Adalbert Jahnz said.

"EU utilities have sufficient inventories of natural uranium to mitigate any short-term supply risks and for the medium and long term there are enough deposits on the world market to cover the EU needs."

Former french colony Niger has some of the world's biggest deposits of uranium, a key ingredient in the nuclear industry.

French firm Orano, previously Areva, has been a major player in the west African nation for decades and operates a major uranium mine in the country.

Niger was the EU's second-largest supplier of natural uranium in 2022, with a share of 25 percent, after Kazakhstan, the bloc's Euratom agency said.

In total, Kazakhstan, Niger and Canada supplied 74 percent of the total delivered to the EU.

Overall, Niger's share of global production was under five percent in 2021, the EU says.

Niger President Mohamed Bazoum, a western ally whose election just over two years ago marked his country's first peaceful transition of power since independence, was toppled on July 26 by the elite Presidential Guard.

The EU has strongly condemned his ouster and France has announced it is preparing to evacuate its nationals after hostile crowds gathered on Sunday outside its embassy.

Short link: