Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Banche Centrali, Devoluzione socialismo, Materie Prime, Russia

Russia. Le sanzioni europee non vietano l’export russo di uranio.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-10-16.

Zio Sam 001

                         Le esportazioni nucleari russe da 200 milioni di euro non sono toccate dalle sanzioni UE. Uranio. La Russia fornisce circa il 20% di tutte le importazioni dell’UE, con solo il Niger (24.3%) e il Kazakistan (23%) maggiori partner commerciali di uranio. Ma finora le sanzioni nucleari sono sempre state lasciate fuori.

                         Avremmo voluto porre fine alla dipendenza dalla Russia per tutte le risorse energetiche, compreso, ovviamente, l’uranio. Lo abbiamo proposto più volte, ma dobbiamo accettare il fatto che, purtroppo, le decisioni sulle sanzioni vengono prese all’unanimità, aggiungendo che il governo di coalizione tedesco vuole eliminare l’unanimità in diverse aree decisionali dell’UE. Tuttavia, alcune delegazioni nazionali vedono l’attenzione tedesca per l’uranio come tattica, sapendo che non c’è alcuna possibilità che venga approvata, a causa del requisito dell’unanimità.

                         La Commissione europea non l’ha mai proposto perché l’impatto sarebbe stato più forte per alcuni Stati membri orientali, che dipendono fortemente dalle infrastrutture e dalle tecnologie russe, che per la Russia stessa. La principale resistenza è venuta dall’Ungheria e dalla Bulgaria. L’Ungheria sta costruendo due reattori nucleari con prestiti russi.

                         In termini economici, i Paesi dell’UE hanno pagato circa 210 milioni di euro per le importazioni di uranio grezzo dalla Russia nel 2021 e altri 245 milioni di euro dal Kazakistan, dove l’estrazione dell’uranio è controllata dalla società statale russa Rosatom. L’anno scorso le importazioni di uranio grezzo dalla Russia alle utility dell’UE sono state pari a 2,358 tonnellate, quasi il 20% di tutte le importazioni dell’UE. Solo il Niger (24.3%) e il Kazakistan (23.0%) sono stati partner commerciali più importanti per l’uranio, secondo il rapporto annuale 2021 dell’organismo dell’UE.

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«Russia’s €200m nuclear exports untouched by EU sanctions. Uranium. Russia supplies around 20 percent of all EU imports, with only Niger (24.3 percent) and Kazakhstan (23 percent) bigger uranium trade partners. But so far, nuclear sanctions were always left out.»

«We would have liked to end the dependency from Russia on all energy resources, which includes, of course, uranium. So we have proposed this several times, but we have to accept that unfortunately, sanction decisions are taken unanimously, adding that the German coalition government wants to scrap unanimity in several EU decision-making areas. However, some national delegations see the German focus on uranium as tactical, knowing there is no chance of it being approved, because of the unanimity requirement.»

«The European Commission never proposed it because the impact would be stronger for some Eastern member states, that are heavily-dependent on Russian infrastructure and technologies, than for Russia itself. The main resistance came from Hungary and Bulgaria. Hungary is building two nuclear reactors with Russian loans»

«In economic terms, the EU countries paid around €210m for raw uranium imports from Russia in 2021 and another €245m from Kazakhstan, where the uranium mining is controlled by Russian state-owned company Rosatom. Raw uranium imports from Russia to EU utilities were 2,358 tonnes last year, almost 20 percent of all EU imports. Only Niger (24.3 percent) and Kazakhstan (23.0 percent) were bigger uranium trade partners, according to the 2021 annual report from the EU body»

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Russia’s €200m nuclear exports untouched by EU sanctions

Uranium. Russia supplies around 20 percent of all EU imports, with only Niger (24.3 percent) and Kazakhstan (23 percent) bigger uranium trade partners.

“Russian nuclear terror requires a stronger response from the international community [including] sanctions on the Russian nuclear industry and nuclear fuel.” Those were the words Ukraine’s president Volodomyr Zelensky tweeted in August, after the shelling of a nuclear power plant in the country.

Since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the European Union has passed multiple sanctions packages aimed at hurting the Russian economy and reducing its ability to finance the war. Sanctions have included personalities, products of all kinds, and of course, fossil fuels.

But so far, nuclear sanctions were always left out.

On Wednesday 28 September, history repeated itself again. The European Commission proposed another sanction package against Russia, the eighth since the beginning of the invasion. It includes additional trade restrictions and an oil price cap for third countries. But still nothing on nuclear cooperation with Russia and imports of Russian uranium, even if many called for it.

The European Parliament itself backs the idea to sanction Russian nuclear power, calling for “an immediate full embargo on Russian imports of oil, coal, nuclear fuel and gas” and asked to “terminate collaboration with Russian companies on existing and new nuclear projects, including in Finland, Hungary and Bulgaria, where Russian experts can be replaced by Western ones, and to phase out the use of Rosatom services”.

On Friday 23 September, days before the commission’s proposal, five EU countries — Poland, Ireland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — suggested a ban on cooperation with any nuclear activities with Russia. Germany has also supported a uranium ban behind the scenes.

German state secretary Sven Giegold confirmed this to Investigate Europe: “We would have liked to end the dependency from Russia on all energy resources, which includes, of course, uranium. So we have proposed this several times, but we have to accept that unfortunately, sanction decisions are taken unanimously,” he said, adding that the German coalition government wants to scrap unanimity in several EU decision-making areas.

However, some national delegations see the German focus on uranium as tactical, knowing there is no chance of it being approved, because of the unanimity requirement.

“Uranian was often presented in a tactical way, to show the others that they also have their weaknesses”, an EU Council diplomat told us, “as Germany has been accused of being too soft on gas sanctions.”

On Wednesday 5 October, the ambassadors of the member states to the EU approved the eighth wave of sanctions against Russia, which was adopted the following morning by written procedure.

                         Europe’s dependency

The reason for this resistance can be explained in one word: dependence. So far, an import ban on uranium or other sanctions on the Russian nuclear energy sector has only been discussed in EU circles, but never formally proposed.

“The European Commission never proposed it because the impact would be stronger for some Eastern member states, that are heavily-dependent on Russian infrastructure and technologies, than for Russia itself,” one diplomatic source told Investigate Europe.

According to Ariadna Rodrigo, EU sustainable finance campaigner at Greenpeace, the main resistance came from Hungary and Bulgaria.

“The country that is the most forceful against [a ban on nuclear import from Russia] is Hungary,” she told Investigate Europe. “Hungary is building two nuclear reactors with Russian loans.”

She added: “If EU governments are serious about stopping war, they need to cut the European nuclear industry’s umbilical cord to the Kremlin and focus instead on accelerating energy savings and renewables. Ignoring the nuclear trade leaves a hole in EU sanctions so big you could drive a tank through it.”

How big is that hole? In economic terms, the EU countries paid around €210m for raw uranium imports from Russia in 2021 and another €245m from Kazakhstan, where the uranium mining is controlled by Russian state-owned company Rosatom.

Raw uranium imports from Russia to EU utilities were 2,358 tonnes last year, almost 20 percent of all EU imports. Only Niger (24.3 percent) and Kazakhstan (23.0 percent) were bigger uranium trade partners, according to the 2021 annual report from the EU body, Euratom Supply Agency (ESA).

                         20% of EU uranium imports come from Russia

While nuclear power generates around one quarter of all electricity in the EU as a whole, the share amounts to over 40 percent in Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria, and over 70 percent for France, according to EU figures.

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