Académie des technologies

For a responsible and rational management of radioactive waste and materials

The Academy of Technology and the Academy of Sciences of France have published a stakeholder statement as part of the public debate on the national plan for the management of radioactive materials and waste.

The laws of 1991 (regulating studies and research on the deep geological disposal of long-lived nuclear waste and establishing the National Assessment Commission (NAC)), 2006 (establishing the three-year revision of the National Plan for the Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste (PNGMDR)) and 2016 (specifying the procedures for the creation of a reversible deep geological disposal facility for long-lived high-level and intermediate level radioactive waste (HA and MAVL)) form a coherent whole. It is envied by many foreign countries.

The public debate on the 5th edition of the 2019-2021 PNGMDR must take place within this framework, and not become a forum for or against nuclear power. However, the fate of waste from the current nuclear fleet justifies a national debate.

The 4th edition of the PNGMDR brought confirmations but also important new elements on three essential points:

1) The opinions of IRSN and ASN on the safety options dossier for the Cigeo project located in Bure clay (Meuse – Haute Marne) confirm the quality of this rock for the deep geological storage of HA and MAVL waste. It had been recommended by the CNE since 1998 after ANDRA’s assessment of other rocks at other sites. The granite has been discarded.

ASN and IRSN have identified various points to be investigated for Cigéo’s operation. The 2016 law clarified the principle of reversibility; however, its practical implementation remains to be defined. In addition, a position should be taken on the interim storage solutions for HA and MAVL waste, which are being considered for a while.

2) The decision to suspend the development of the Astrid fast neutron reactor raises the legitimate question of the recoverability of plutonium from spent fuel treatment or its qualification as waste. It is essential.

3) The first decommissioning operations and the preparation of future operations have highlighted the inconsistencies and limitations of the current strategy for the storage of very low level waste (VLW).

Academies limit their contribution to the PNGMDR to these three points.