By Armin Rosen
The odds of finding much of anything seem slim in northern Niger’s unnerving expanses of hazy white desert.
The land is so vast, so untethered from any obvious landmarks that when straying just a few hundred feet off of the inconsistently paved road between Abalak and Agadez, it’s hard to shake the fear that the driver won’t be able to find the highway again.
Even with plenty of water, gas, and daylight on hand, there’s a general feeling of being marooned.
In the post-World War II years, huge amounts of cheap electricity were needed to fuel the breakneck growth of Western economies.
At the same time, nuclear weapons became the ultimate embodiment of national power and prestige.
So the discovery of uranium in Niger in 1957 was a much-needed economic boon for a country that still ranks 187th on the Human Development Index.
And the ambitions of the nuclear powers in Niger are still playing out today as Niger’s remote and inhospitable northern desert environment contains the world’s fifth-largest recoverable uranium reserves, some 7% of the global total…
…Nuclear energy is also relatively cheap, with most of the electricity costs related to financing reactor construction.
As University of Chicago Physicist and former director of the Argonne National Laboratory Robert Rosner told Business Insider, “Nuclear is really price-insensitive to the fuel.”
And the cost of enriching uranium has shown a straight linear decline in recent years as technology improves…
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