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French Debates on Nuclear-Waste Repository Postponed by Protests

May 29 (Bloomberg) -- French plans to build a nuclear-waste repository were set back when two public meetings were postponed by local opposition.

A debate scheduled for tomorrow in Saint Didier, northeastern France, and another in the nearby town of Joinville on June 6 have been pushed back, organizers said in a statement yesterday. The new dates are yet to be determined.

France is looking to store radioactive waste from Electricite de France SA’s 58 reactors, as well as from Areva SA and atomic-research organization CEA, at a site near Bure, which straddles the Meuse and Haute-Marne regions. The plans have already faced opposition as protests last week forced the cancellation of the first in a series of public consultations.

Debates on projects that have an impact on the environment and regional development “are a right and are protected by the law,” the organizers said in the statement, calling for “tolerance and openness.” The meetings, scheduled through Oct. 15, must be held before the government and the regulator can decide whether to approve the project.

Andra, the waste-management agency spearheading the plan, is seeking to start construction in 2019 and begin operations in 2025.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tara Patel in Paris at tpatel2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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