For 40 years, France has justified its nuclear power industry by claiming it brings the country “energy independence”. Yet, even before the closure of the last uranium mine on French soil in 2001, the fuel for French nuclear plants was largely imported. Now all of it is imported. Although uranium now comes from different countries, African uranium has always been indispensable for running French nuclear power plants.
How then can France speak about energy independence? It’s simple. French leaders consider that the former French colonies continue to belong to France. And the price France pays for uranium is so low that it almost fails to show in the official figures.
Areva’s place on the african continent:
Survie, "Sortir du nucléaire" network and collectif Areva ne fera pas la loi au Niger demand from Areva:
an immediate suspension of all mining projects until an independent environmental and health assessment, responsible to both the host state and the population affected, is made of all of Areva’s operations; we should expect that Areva would conform to French regulations on the impacts of mining.
payment of taxes or contributions by Areva to host states, entrusted to an independent management structure that will ensure rehabilitation of sites after extraction, and cleanup of operating sites and their surroundings (this should include containment of tailings and radioactive waste, collection of waste and contaminated scrap metal, securing of safe water for local population, etc.)
respect the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, particularly on the need for the close involvement of local people in decisions related to management of water resources and use of land.
set up a fund for all ex-miners and people living close to the mines, in addition to provision of a complete medical examination, a retrospective assessment of radioactive doses incurred, a long-term health monitoring system conducted by independent medical organizations, and the compensation for damage suffered.
What Survie demands from the French institutions:
Put an end to the various military, diplomatic and financial support mechanisms used by France to support dictatorships and other authoritarian or corrupt regimes. For decades they have been complicit in France’s extraction of strategic resources.
Urgently introduce binding legislation on the environmental and social responsibility of French companies, by extending their legal responsibility to their foreign subsidiaries. and, by leading by example, pressure the EU and other countries to do the same.
Urgently introduce binding legislation on fiscal transparency, forcing multinationals to issue country by country accounts for their activities in each jurisdiction where they operate.
Strengthen the struggle against corruption, for example by the elimination of bank secrecy and tax havens, and through ensuring the automatic transmission of tax information between jurisdictions.