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where does the uranium that feeds the French power stations come from?

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Margaux Fodere
07:01, December 08, 2022modified to

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10:14 a.m., December 09, 2022

As France braces for a tense winter on the power grid, all eyes are on nuclear power plants. They have been idling since September due to maintenance delays. Today, 24 out of 56 reactors are shut down. A blow for the famous French energy independence defended by Emmanuel Macron. However, France depends on gas imports but also, and this is perhaps less well known, on those of uranium. Yet it is the fuel of the reactors.

7,000 tons of uranium consumed per year

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France essentially depends on Niger, Canada, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. To reach our power plants, EDF places orders either with its French supplier Orano or with foreign suppliers such as the Anglo-Saxon Urenco. The latter are responsible for extracting uranium from the mines, possibly treating it, then transporting it to France.

Inevitable stages, since France does not have uranium, recalls Ludovic Dupin, the director of information for the French nuclear energy company. “We import this resource entirely since there are no more mines in France. France consumes around 7,000 tonnes of natural uranium per year. This represents around between 500 million and 1 billion euros per year in the energy balance. French.”

France has its stocks

In the event of a supply disruption, however, for uranium as for gas, France has reserves. “France also has stocks in the country, which have about ten years of consumption. Either it is natural uranium, or it is reprocessed uranium, that is to say uranium that comes out of the reactors, but that we can still reuse.”

A very small part of this uranium already used, approximately a few tens of tons, is also sent to Russia, which knows how to recycle and enrich it, before returning to us.

Source: Europe1

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