The “public utility”​ of Cigéo was recognized by decree

After the opinion of several public bodies, local authorities, and a public inquiry, the application for a declaration of public utility (declaration d’utilité publique – DUP) for the Cigéo project received a favorable response on Friday, 8 July, via a publication in the Official Journal. 

The Cigéo project aims to store the most radioactive waste (high-level [HA] and long-lived medium-level [MA-VL]) in a deep geological layer. The task carried out by the French National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra) provides long-term safety guarantees and insurance against the risk of social degradation. Furthermore, the international scientific community recognizes this project is a reference solution for managing HL and ILW.

As the result of more than 30 years of research and three different laws (1991, 2006, 2016), the project has undergone several stages of investigation by the regulatory authorities, including the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN). It has also been the subject of two public debates organized at the national level in 2005 and 2013. Last December, the public inquiry commission had already concluded that Cigéo was “timely, relevant and robust.”

 An administrative milestone 

The declaration of public utility attests to the recognition of the general interest of the project. It allows Andra to acquire the missing land by expropriating the land needed to build the storage center, compensating farmers, and carrying out preliminary work.

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Source : Andra

The DUP does not, however, authorize the construction of the center. This next stage could occur at the end of the examination of the request for authorization for the creation of the center, which will be submitted to the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) at the end of 2022. Then, the industrial pilot phase will mark the effective launch of the project. It will allow the operation and organization to be tested in real conditions and consolidate all the scientific research. ■