IN SHORT: A false online claim says coup leaders in Niger have cut its supply of uranium to France, which is largely dependent on nuclear power. But the video going viral in August 2023 as proof of the claim was shot in December 2022.
“Paris BLACKOUT After Niger Cut Uranium Supply To France Beginning Of The End.” That’s the caption of a video posted on YouTube on 14 August 2023.
The video is of two identical TikTok clips of groups of people chattering in the darkened streets of a city at night. The first has English text and the second French text.
“And it has started. ‘Blackout’ in Paris UK next?” reads the first. “No electricity in France.”
The second reads: “L'importance de l'uranium au Niger. Paris dans l'obscurite. 125,000 foyers dans le noir.”
This roughly translates as: “The importance of uranium from Niger. Paris in darkness. 125,000 homes in the dark.”
“Parts of France in darkness, power cuts due to no uranium from Niger to power their power plants,” reads the caption to one version, dated 14 August.
“BREAKING NEWS: FRANCE IN DARKNESS AFTER NIGER CUT OFF URANIUM SUPPLY,” reads another, from 22 August.
In late July, the elected government of the West African country of Niger was overthrown in a coup led by the presidential guard. Government leaders were detained and a junta, or military authority, assumed power.
The coup was almost immediately condemned by the Economic Community of West African States, or Ecowas, by the African Union, and by countries across the world. These included France, Niger’s former colonial ruler.
Uranium, Niger and France
Niger mines about 5% of the global supply of uranium, according to the World Nuclear Association. It’s the world’s seventh-largest producer of the metal. Corporations based in France, Canada, Japan and China – as well as Niger – own large shares of the country’s six uranium exploration and production companies.
Over the past decade, about 20% of the uranium France imported to power its nuclear reactors has come from Niger.
December 2022 power cuts during electricity squeeze
The TikTok handle @FMOTL appears in the first version of the clip.
To find the original video, we took a screengrab of its first frame and ran it through Google Lens.
This led us to a video posted on X on 8 December.
The post is in French. It translates as: “My street has been dark for 10 minutes. (Paris 4).”
Ma rue est dans le noir depuis 10 min. (Paris 4) pic.twitter.com/MpjREW6EoX— Guillaume Natas 😎 (@Natas) December 8, 2022
We then googled “power cut Paris December 2022”.
The video shows a limited blackout in Paris in December 2022. It is not evidence that there is “no electricity in France” after Niger supposedly cut its uranium supply in 2023.
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