Following the public debate, Elisabeth Borne and Bernard Doroszczuk announce the guidelines of the next National Radioactive Materials and Waste Management Plan (PNGMDR)
Elisabeth Borne, Minister for Ecological and Solidarity-based Transition, and Bernard Doroszczuk, Chairman of the French nuclear safety regulator (ASN), have issued, on February 2020, a decision following the public debate concerning preparations for the 5th edition of the National Radioactive Materials and Waste Management Plan.
Following the national debate on the management of radioactive materials and wastes, held in 2019, the National and Special Public Debates Commissions issued their conclusions on 25 November 2019.
In the light of the questions, subjects of interests and concerns that were raised during this debate, and further to discussions with the stakeholders, the Minister for Ecological and Solidarity-based Transition and the ASN Chairman confirmed that the National Radioactive Materials and Waste Management Plan (PNGMDR) will be updated for a fifth edition, with a view to public consultation before the end of 2020, and decided on the following guidelines:
- improve coordination between energy policy and waste management policy: the frequency of the PNGMDR will be brought into line with multi-year energy programming, and the coordination with final shutdown and decommissioning strategies will be more clearly explained;
- reinforce the governance of radioactive waste management: the PNGMDR drafting and oversight body will be expanded to include national elected representatives, civil society and representatives of local authorities, in addition to participation by environmental protection associations;
- reinforce oversight of reusable nature of radioactive materials: for materials which are not currently reusable, industry will make a commitment to interim targets in the action plans, which will be periodically reassessed;
- address the need for new spent fuel storage capacity: the PNGMDR will make provision for new centralised underwater storage capacity, taking account of the time needed to build it. It will study the conditions and situations in which dry storage could be of use;
- whenever pertinent and by means of targeted exemptions, allow the reuse of certain very low level metal waste and define the conditions for such reuse;
- continue with defining the conditions for implementation of the Cigeo project, notably the methods for involving the public in the fundamental stages of the project, as well as R&D on alternative management solutions;
- reinforce the assessment of the impacts of the management choices on the country as a whole and on the economic, health and environmental issues (impact of transports, harmfulness of wastes, etc.): the public debate revealed particular sensitivity to these aspects.
What is the National Radioactive Materials and Waste Management Plan (PNGMDR)?
French policy concerning radioactive materials and wastes aims to ensure that they are managed sustainably, to protect individual health, safety and the environment.
This policy is built more specifically on the drafting of a National Radioactive Materials and Waste Management Plan (PNGMDR), measures to ensure transparency, information of the population and democracy and on the ring-fencing of financing for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities and the management of radioactive waste.
Article L. 542-1-2 of the Environment Code requires the adoption every three years of a National Radioactive Materials And Waste Management Plan (PNGMDR).
The PNGMDR draws up an inventory of the existing management methods for radioactive materials and wastes, identifies the foreseeable need for storage or disposal facilities and specifies the capacity necessary for these installations as well as the storage durations.
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