France, Jan. 24 -- Niger's northern town of Arlit has beenleft wallowing in 20 million tonnes of radioactive waste after a uranium mine run by French company Orano (formerly Areva) closed down. People living in the area are exposed to levels of radiation above the limits recommended byhealth experts.

Niger is the world's fifth-largest uranium producer.

In 2021, it provided the European Union with nearly 25 percent of its uranium supplies, which helpedproduce electricity for millions of households.

The French nuclear company -formerly, Areva andnow Orano - started mining the country's uranium reserves in the 1970s. Forty-sevenyears later, in March 2021, the Cominak mines near the northern town of Arlit closed down.

The closure left the...