A panel from France’s Commission Nationale du Débat Public (National Commission for Public Debate; CNDP) has said it is not “in principle” against the Cigéo national deep geological repository project, the National Agency for the Management of Radioactive Waste (Andra) has said.
The panel of 17 people, set up as part of France’s public hearing process, said it is “not opposed in principle” to Cigéo given that tests in real conditions carried out over a sufficient period have produced favourable results.
The panel was convened on 3 February 2014 and adopted the opinion unanimously, according to Andra. The panel, comprising of residents from the area where the repository will be built, was established to complement the many local and national public positions expressed during the public debate process.
The debate was held between mid-May and mid-December 2013.
Andra has said it will decide on a response to the public debate by mid-May2014.
The CNDP is a state-funded independent body mandated to ensure that the public takes part effectively in debates on all projects “having a major effect on the environment or land planning”. It was created in 1995 and has been independent since 2002.
Andra said the Cigéo project does not only concern the storage of high-level waste, which requires several decades of cooling before it is stored, but also about 70,000 cubic meters of intermediate-level waste, half of which does not require such a long period of cooling.
If approved, Cigéo will be built along the boundaries of the Meuse and Haute- Marne departments in northeastern France and is expected to be commissioned in2025.