French uranium supply threatened by strike in Niger

Niger's uranium workers have downed tools over a dispute with Areva, the French nuclear power giant that owns the Imouraren mine.

Reuters reports about 800 workers at the mine have begun a week-long strike over labour conditions and vacation allotment. If the work stoppage continues, it could impact the country's ability to supply the nuclear fuel to France, its no. 1 export market.

Uranium mines operated by Areva produce 4,000 tonnes per year while China National Nuclear Corp. has a mine with output of 700 tpa, Reuters said.

Uranium workers at the West African nation are rallying behind the employees at Imouaren, which is still under construction and expected to come online in 2014 with an expected output of 5,000 tonnes per annum. When it does, Niger would rival Canada as the world's second largest uranium producer behind Kazakhstan.

France is heavily reliant on nuclear power; 78% of the country's power is produced from nuclear reactors- the highest percentage in the world.