Niger exports enough uranium to France to generate 80 per cent of the latter’s electricity supply, writes Khadija Sharife. But ordinary Nigeriens reap little benefit from France’s control of their country’s uranium resources, with over three-fifths of the population living below the poverty line and reports of radioactive contamination of water, air and soil by multinational mining operations.
The Niger, exporting 7.7 per cent of the world’s uranium, consistently ranks in the top five alongside Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan, and produces on par with Russia. The town of Arlit alone largely supplies the country’s former colonial landlord, France, with the uranium required to power up the latter’s nuclear programme and power stations – generating almost 80 per cent of France’s electricity via an estimated 59 nuclear plants.
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