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France expands uranium enrichment plant to decrease dependency on Russia

France expands uranium enrichment plant to decrease dependency on Russia Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

France will spend 1.7 billion euros to expand its uranium enrichment plant. This will allow the country to reduce its dependence on Russian nuclear fuel, according to the head of the state-owned company Orano, Claude Imauven.

Investments will allow expanding production at the Georges Besse 2 plant by more than 30%.

"The site will eventually process enough uranium to generate nuclear power for the equivalent of 120 million households a year, it said," the company said.

The U.S. and Europe have refrained from imposing sanctions on the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, fearing that the energy supply for hundreds of millions of people would be at risk. However, they are increasingly severing ties with the Kremlin, which restricts natural gas flows to Europe following the invasion of Ukraine.

Production is to begin in 5 years

"In the current geopolitical context, the purpose of this increase in enrichment capacities is to strengthen Western energy sovereignty in France," said Imauven.

He added that Orano's decision met the requirements of their customers for strengthening supply security. Production is expected to begin in 2028.

According to Orano, Rosatom is the world's largest uranium enrichment company, accounting for 43% of the total production capacity. It is followed by the British-Dutch-German group Urenco Ltd with a 31% share, China National Nuclear Corp with 13%, and Orano with 12%.


A multinational nuclear fuel cycle company. The company is involved in uranium mining, conversion-enrichment, reprocessing of used fuel, nuclear logistics, decommissioning, and nuclear cycle engineering.

Established in 2017 as a result of the restructuring and recapitalization of the nuclear conglomerate Areva. The controlling stake in Orano is owned by the French state.

Sanctions against Rosatom

At the beginning of July, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the European Union to work on the 12th package of sanctions against Russia, including Rosatom.

Recently, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal stated that the next package of European Union sanctions against Russia should include restrictions against Rosatom and the diamond industry of the aggressor country.