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France Mulls New Uranium Plant to Cut West’s Reliance on Russia

  • Orano is considering France, US for adding new capacity
  • US is seeking to end dependence on Russian nuclear fuel

French state-controlled uranium producer Orano SA is considering growing its capacity to enrich the radioactive ore into nuclear fuel by almost 50% as Western governments and utilities seek to reduce their reliance on Russia since its attack on Ukraine.

The war is “reviving the urgency” to raise Western uranium-enrichment capacity to avoid potential shortages, Orano said, according to a statement of France’s public debate committee. The cost of the capacity extension from 7.5 million to 11 million so-called separative work units at its plant in central France is estimated at 1.3 billion euros ($1.3 billion).