No uranium supply risk after Niger military coup, says EU

No uranium supply risk after Niger military coup, says EU

EU institutions have sufficient uranium stock to mitigate any short-term supply risk, says EU Commission spokesperson

By Ata Ufuk Seker

BRUSSELS (AA) – The EU on Tuesday said the cessation of uranium exports from Niger following the July 26 military coup poses no supply risk.

EU Commission spokesperson Adalbert Jahnz made a remark about the suspension of uranium exports to France from Niger, one of the world's largest uranium suppliers, during a regular press briefing in Brussels.

"I can confirm that there is no uranium supply risk for the EU. The bloc institutions have sufficient uranium stock to mitigate any short-term supply risk," said Jahnz, emphasizing that the EU has an adequate amount of uranium to meet its needs in the medium and long term on the global market.

Jahnz said Niger is an important natural uranium supplier for the EU and explained that this uranium needs to be enriched before it can be used as fuel.

This radioactive metal element is used for many purposes, including cancer treatment, the maritime and arms industries, and nuclear energy.

Niger, which has the highest-grade uranium ores, produced 2,020 tons of uranium last year, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA).

Thus, the country is the world's seventh biggest supplier of uranium, way behind Kazakhstan which supplies 43% of the world's uranium, and produced 21,227 tons in 2022.

Niger, which produces about 5% of the world's output, has an estimated reserve of 311,110 tons.

On average, France requires approximately 7,800 tons of uranium per year to power 56 reactors in 18 nuclear plants. That is why Paris has been importing uranium from its former colony, Niger, for the past 50 years.

The French nuclear energy company Orano – formerly Areva – co-exploits the mine near the city of Arlit in the Saharan desert, and Niger was France's third uranium supplier after Kazakhstan and Australia in 2005-2020, according to the Euratom Supply Agency.

Niger is also considered the European Union's second uranium supplier.​​​​​​​

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