mercredi 1 juillet 2015

Radioactive waste expected to triple in France up to 2030

Radioactive waste in France

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The volume of radioactive waste
is expected to triple by 2030 in France, due to the dismantling of some nuclear facilities, and to the constructions in course, such as Flamanville nuclear station.

"Les Échos" 01/07/15 

According to a report released Wednesday, the volume ofradioactive waste recorded in France is expected to triple, once the facilities currently in operation would be dismantled, writes the Andra (National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management). In its projections, the volumes of waste "terminated" should amount to 4.3 million cubic meters, to be compared with 1.46 million in late 2013 and 2.5 million in 2030, based on a life span of 50 years for French nuclear reactors.


"Dismantling the existing facilities will provide a large part of this waste," said Michèle Tallec, Manager of Andra’s inventory and planification service, stating that the waste would be qualified as "low-level waste", which means that such waste is releasing a short-lived radioactivity, such as rubble or outfits used for decommissioning. The projections made by Andra particularly include the EPR in course of construction at Flamanville (Manche), which should be operated for 60 years from its commissioning, scheduled in 2017 for the time being. The 2015 release of the Inventory of Andra, published every three years confirms also that the storage facility of Morvilliers (Aube) shall reach saturation by 2020-2025. As such, the Andra has launched preliminary studies to cope with this deadline.

A project triggering controversies

"The main point lies in the warning signal sent about the storage capacities of the existing centres, which are nearly full, and about the obligation to optimize waste management in order to save storage spaces, which are really scarce," highlighted Michèle Tallec. The volumes of high – level waste, that means waste featuring a long-lived radioactivity, would represent only 0.2% of volume but concentrate 98% of the total radioactivity, and such waste should amount to 3,200 m3 at the end of 2013 to 10,000 m3 when the present facilities will be decommissioned ; this assessment is already included in the controversial project of the underground repository of Bure (Meuse). At the end of 2013, the power sector (reactors and processing of used fuels) originally produced some 60% of the radioactive waste, far ahead of research (27%), defense (9%), industry excluding nuclear power (3 %) and the medical sector (1%).

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