Does the uranium imported into Europe and France come very

Does the uranium imported into Europe and France come “very largely” from Russia, as Yannick Jadot claims?

Niger and Kazakhstan are the main suppliers of natural uranium to the European Union, ahead of Russia. Question from Alexandre on June 26th

“Where do you think the uranium comes from? Mostly from Russia, for Europe. For us, it also comes from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, which are countries under Russian control,” Yannick Jadot said June 24 at the France Inter microphone in response to the question “Nuclear power funding, is Russia funding it?” They ask us about this one Testimony from former green-minded presidential candidate as international economic sanctions against Russia continue to tighten, but while the European Union has long debated the embargo on Russian gas and oil, the issue of nuclear fuel supplies is far less frequently raised.

In 2020, Russia accounted for 6% of world natural uranium production, far behind Kazakhstan, the main fuel supplier, with 40.6%, according to data from the latest report from Europe’s Supply Agency Euratom (ESA). There is also a list of the main European suppliers of natural uranium on the institution’s website. In 2021, Niger, Kazakhstan and Russia were the top three importers from the European Union. Russia is third in this ranking with 19.69% of the European market, behind Niger with 24.26% and Kazakhstan with 22.99%. Next up are Australia and Canada. These five producing countries alone deliver 96% of the natural uranium to Europe.

When asked by CheckNews, ESA states that “the market share of Russian-controlled uranium would be slightly higher in 2021” and estimates it at around 21%. As for the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine on imports of natural uranium, they “will be visible in the figures for 2022”. These figures give an overview of the origin of the fuel. However, each country manages its own supply contracts. The Czech Republic and Slovakia have filled up with the Russian company Rosatom. Russia therefore occupies an important place in the European uranium supply chain without being the majority supplier.

In France: Australia, Kazakhstan and Niger

In France, since the early 2000s, all of the uranium used for nuclear power plants has been imported (after a brief period of production in France). The Energy Transition Ministry contacted by CheckNews states that France’s supply is now based on “diversified sources, mainly located in Australia, Kazakhstan and Niger in 2021” without providing details on the volumes imported. However, he clarifies that it “is not based on Russia”.

According to a report published in 2019 by the High Committee for Transparency and Information on the Nuclear Security (HCTISN), the operator EDF needs an average of around 7,800 tons of natural uranium per year to operate the 56 nuclear reactors spread over 18 power plants. At the request of CheckNews, EDF shared the origin of the in did not use uranium in its power plants, merely pointing out that “EDF’s uranium supply over the long term is secured through diversified origin and supplier contracts lasting up to 20 years”. The statement is clear, multiple suppliers have in order not to miss.

The Orano Group (formerly Areva), which uses EDF essentially for fuel self-sufficiency, also defends the “security of supply” thanks to “production and projects on four continents”. With CheckNews, the nuclear industry reports that it has “no mining activities or mines in Russia.” So “the conflict in Ukraine doesn’t touch [ses] operational mining activities, still on [ses] Sales contracts,” explains the group.

As for its production facilities, Orano replies that they are mainly located “in Canada, Niger and Kazakhstan” and that it has “projects in development in other countries, such as Mongolia”. If EDF and Orano remain unclear about the origin of the fuel mined in France, the Euratom Technical Committee (CTE), contacted by CheckNews, provides more precise data. Of the 6,286 tons of uranium imported into France in 2020, almost a third came from Niger (34.7%). The rest comes from Kazakhstan (28.9%), Uzbekistan (26.4%), Australia (9.9%). However, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan maintain ambivalent relations with their neighbor Russia, even though these two countries have been trying to distance themselves since invading Ukraine.

Finally, some European countries with close ties to Russian nuclear power have initiated a long-term phase-out of this dependency. Finland, for example, announced in early May that it was terminating its contract with Rosatom to build a new reactor in the west of the country. The Czech Republic had excluded Russian and Chinese manufacturers from its tender to replace its old reactors installed at Dukovany in the center of the country. Only Hungary is sticking to the construction of two reactors by the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom.