The analyst recalled that the Russian nuclear industry is not just a powerful complex made up of 350 companies and organizations that employ more than 250,000 people. It is also a world-renowned provider of unique uranium enrichment technologies, and it is Russia that remains one of the largest uranium exporters today.
The United States alone imported 550 tons of enriched Russian uranium worth $645.7 million in 2021, and Washington bought the same amount of enriched Russian uranium between January and October 2022. In the context of the EU gas crisis , it would be logical to assume an increase in the demand for other sources of energy, particularly nuclear, says the expert.
“The first violin in Europe in this case is for France with more than 50 reactors in operation with a total capacity of 61.4 GW. Such a high proportion of nuclear energy in the Fifth Republic also explains the annual consumption of about 10,000 tons of uranium, of which 8,000 tons come from abroad, including from Russia,” Bravo said.
France has significantly increased its uranium purchases from Russia in 2022, often skirting sanctions, he said. Emmanuel Macron faces a difficult choice. On the one hand, he must follow the EU, on the other hand, he must think about the welfare of his country. As the analyst noted, it remains to be seen whether France will have enough fuel for its own nuclear power plants in the event of sanctions against the Russian nuclear industry. “Therefore, it is not clear whether the new sanctions against Russia will be effective. And the restrictions on the nuclear industry will turn against the European countries themselves”, concluded Patrice Bravo.