Storage and disposal
The year 2010-2011 saw a very important stage in the deep geological disposal of radioactive waste, which, after a preparatory R&D phase, is now entering the industrial implementation phase. In September 2010, Andra presented an industrial organisational structure and strategy for the disposal project, named Cigéo (the industrial centre for geological disposal).
The DGEC asked Andra to assess the producers’ proposals, and in April 2011 it implemented a review of the Cigeo project.
On 11 October 2011, Andra presented the Board with the document "Requirements applicable to the Cigeo project", which gives the specifications for the draft design of the disposal facility, as well as the technical specifications. Andra stated that it had "opted to select a prime contractor for engineering studies for the period 2011-2017" and underlined that the prime contractor must provide "an architectural, technical and economic response".
Andra, the project owner, therefore decided, after the review of the Cigeo project, to proceed to a call for tenders with a view to entrusting the "project management of the system" to an external company.
Andra produced the 2005 and 2009 reports and the Zira proposal. The transition from an R&D-based approach to industrial implementation is generating fresh difficulties. The Board would also like to underline the fact that the producers (EDF, CEA and Areva) have, over many years, developed great expertise in nuclear facilities, underground structures and the management of the related risks. The Board recommends that the producers should be involved throughout the implementation of the industrial project, and that their contribution should be put to good use, through a process yet to be implemented, in which Andra would keep all it prerogatives as project owner.
The Board would remind readers that in less than twelve months, the preparatory file for the public debate is due to be published, bringing to public attention the essential elements of the project, notably the disposal system, the reversibility conditions, the layout of the surface facilities, the shafts and the inclined drifts, the inventory of waste to be placed in the disposal facility and the estimated cost of the facility following the submission of the Court of Auditors’ report on the cost of nuclear power.