No risk for uranium supply despite the coup in Niger, which is the second largest supplier of uranium to the European Union. The European Commission assured Tuesday that the existing stocks were sufficient and that the world deposits will be able to cover the needs in the future. At the same time, France and other European countries have started the evacuation of their nationals.
The European Commission estimated on Tuesday that there was “no risk” for the EU’s uranium supply following the military coup in Niger, a country representing a quarter of European supplies. , because of the stocks already constituted.
“There is no supply risk as far as the EU is concerned. EU operators have sufficient stocks of natural uranium to mitigate any short-term supply risk,” a doorman said. – speech of the European executive during a press conference.
“In the medium and long term, there are enough deposits on the world market to cover the needs of the EU”, added the spokesman.
In 2022, Niger was the second largest supplier of natural uranium to the EU (with a share of 25.38%) behind Kazakhstan, Euratom told AFP on Monday.
Kazakhstan is by far the world’s largest producer of natural uranium, with 40.6% of the total mined in 2020, followed by Australia (12.8%) and Namibia (11.3%) and Canada ( 8.1%) then from Niger (7.6%). This share of Niger in the world supply even fell to 4.7% in 2021, according to Euratom.
“The situation in Niger does not present any risk to the security of France’s supply of natural uranium,” said the French Ministry for Energy Transition, emphasizing efforts to diversify uranium supplies.
Departing European nationals
France began airlifting French and European civilians from Niger on Tuesday evening following last week’s putsch, its first mass evacuation in the Sahel where coups have multiplied since 2020.
A first plane evacuating French people took off from Niamey, announced at the beginning of the evening to AFP the head of French diplomacy, Catherine Colonna. Other passengers, “with more Europeans”, were boarding a second plane around 6:20 p.m. GMT. It will take off soon, also from the civilian airport of Niamey, according to her.
“There are 600 French people who have clearly expressed their intention to leave and there are just under 400 Europeans,” she also said. In total, some 1,200 French people are registered on consular lists in Niger, according to Paris.
The German Foreign Ministry recommended during the day “all its nationals in Niamey” to accept France’s offer. Italy has announced that it is ready to evacuate its nationals from Niamey by a specially chartered plane.
An ambiguous American position
The United States, which is betting on Niger in the anti-jihadist fight in the Sahel, has strongly condemned the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum but has so far refrained from speaking of a “coup d’etat”, keeping a small margin of maneuver.
While France appears on the front line ordering the suspension of its direct aid and the evacuation of its nationals, as well as other Europeans, the United States has, at this stage, decided neither.
And, above all, Washington considers that there is still a “small window” for diplomacy and the restoration of President Bazoum to his duties, welcoming in passing the message of firmness sent to the putschist soldiers by the countries of East Africa. ‘West.
“We have no indication of direct threats to US citizens or our facilities” in Niger, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday.
This article is originally published on icibeyrouth.com