French granite nuclear store plans assessed

Experts say storing nuclear waste in granite is sound option, urges public debate

French local politicians and the public at large do not support underground, long-term storage of nuclear waste in granite, say the members of a French expert group. The group's report nevertheless concludes that there is international scientific backing for underground storage in granite

Research into long-term storage options for nuclear waste, both underground and surface, has been prioritised by the French government, with a parliamentary decision on a national strategy planned for 2006 (ENDS Daily 5 February 1998). A 1991 law paved the way for the creation of two underground sites. Initially, both would be research facilities, but one or both could be converted into permanent storage sites for long-lived, high-level radioactive waste.

An underground site in clay strata has already been chosen but an underground granite site has yet to be agreed on. The experts' report contains information on 15 potential granite sites, but it does not recommend which should be chosen.

The report urges the government to launch a public debate on underground storage of nuclear waste and to consider creating a protocol to govern how nuclear waste authorities should negotiate with a local authority once an underground granite site is chosen. The experts also call for the ministry of research to provide publicly accessible information on radioactive risk.

Follow Up:
Collegiate mission on granite storage, and report on granite storage.

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