France's Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runachet said that Paris had not intention to pull out from the reprocessed uranium agreement with Russia. According to the minister, France would not lacquey Russia.
Sounds like a paradox, does it not? If the agreement is terminated, Russia will benefit from it in accordance with the terms of the current agreement. Probably, it goes about a large penalty that France would have to pay to Russia should the agreement be terminated.
Europe and the United States depend on the supplies of enriched uranium from Russia. They use it as fuel for nuclear power plants.
France produces reprocessed uranium during the processing of spent nuclear fuel at local nuclear power plants. Afterwards, France sends it to Russia, where it is re-enriched to uranium-235 that France gets for the production of nuclear fuel.
In 2018, Techsnabexport, which is part of Rosatom (Russia's Federal Agency for Atomic Power), and Electricite de France signed a contract for the processing of reprocessed uranium. In 2022, EDF purchased 153 tons of such enriched uranium from Russia. Russia thus accounted for 15 percent of all deliveries to the French company, Ruposters notes.
Such a degree of dependence on supplies from Russia hinders the introduction of sanctions in the nuclear sector. Nuclear industry representatives from 16 European states are expected to gather for a meeting in France in the nearest future. During the meeting, they are going to discuss building "European chains of sustainability and independence" of the energy sector.
It is worth noting that the authorities of Hungary announced earlier that they would oppose any attempts to impose sanctions against the Russian nuclear industry at the EU level.
Last year, the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority issued Rosatom a permit for the construction of V and VI power units of the Paks nuclear power plant.
In addition, the Russian state corporation said that they were ready to proceed to the construction of Paks-2 nuclear power plant in 2024.
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