French Nuclear-Waste Repository Debates Postponed by Protesters

French plans to develop a nuclear-waste repository were set back for a second time when a public meeting on the project was postponed by local opposition.

A debate scheduled for tomorrow in Nancy, northeastern France, will be delayed because a similar meeting earlier this week was disrupted by protests, organizers said today in a statement. The Nancy debate hasn’t yet been rescheduled.

France is seeking to store highly radioactive and long-life 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. Public meetings on the plan, known as Cigeo, must take place by law. So far, they’ve been disrupted and canceled amid protests.

The organizers “recognize once again the impossibility of holding a public meeting on the Cigeo project because of orchestrated troubles,” they said on an official website for the process, which is due to last through October. A meeting on May 23 in Bure ended as opponents clashed with the police and the organizers. One at Bar-le-Duc June 17 was also canceled.

Andra, the waste-management agency spearheading the plan, is seeking to start construction in 2019 and begin operations in 2025. The public debate is supposed to result in a non-binding report on the project, which also needs approval from the nuclear safety authority as well as a new law making the waste disposal reversible for a limited period.

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