French agency releases details on planned nuclear-waste facility

An artist's rendering of the proposed Cigéo nuclear waste-site roject in France.
An artist's rendering of the proposed Cigéo nuclear waste-site roject in France. | Courtesy of Andra
The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) of France released details on the Cigéo nuclear-waste storage-site project this week.

The project, to be built along the boundaries of the Meuse and Haute-Marne departments in northeastern France, aims to facilitate the long-term storage of French nuclear reactors' radioactive byproducts, which currently are stored at facilities throughout the country. A report from AREVA said the new facility would utilize deep geological formations to house radioactive material. This project is supported by EDF, AREVA and CEA, who will be the primary operators and users of the facility. AREVA said construction of the project could begin by 2020, pending regulatory approval. The project is owned by Andra, France’s National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management.

AREVA said the design will enter a study phase that will be completed in 2016 and 2017. Cost reports from ASN detail the trial phases for technology at the facility, initial studies and the construction of the proposed facility. The report also indicates that the first phase of industrial work would be spread over a 20-year period.

There are currently technological discussions being held between Andra, AREVA, CEA and EDF. The nuclear operators will be financing the project in its entirety. Cost estimates vary depending on anticipated technological advancements that emerge while the project is built and in operation.

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