ASN calls for an IAEA international review of the safety options file for the Cigeo project

Published on 01/12/2016 • 03:00 pm

Information notice

With the aim of obtaining the opinion of its international peers regarding the examination of the safety options file (DOS) for the radioactive waste deep geological disposal facility being developed by Andra, called Cigeo, ASN asked IAEA to organise an international review of this file by experts from safety regulators from other countries.

This radioactive waste deep geological disposal facility is unique in France, so ASN wished to benefit from the expertise of its peers examining similar projects in their own countries.

This review was held in France from 7th to 15th November 2016. The seven experts who took part in the review, all internationally recognised in their area of expertise and overseen by Jussi HEINONEN, head of regulation of radioactive waste and materials at STUK (Finland), submitted their conclusions to ASN on Tuesday 15th November. The report and his summary is now available.

The experts examined the file submitted by Andra in the light of the standards drawn up by IAEA. ASN more particularly asked IAEA to examine the R&D programme related to the development of the project, Cigeo monitoring as planned by Andra and the definition of safety scenarios during operation and for the long-term.

IAEA international review of the safety options file for the Cigeo project

The experts underlined the quality of their discussions with Andra during the course of the review. These exchanges and the analysis of the DOS documents submitted by Andra, led the experts to make a number of observations, suggestions and recommendations. These are in line with the requests made by ASN on certain subjects already identified as having particular implications. They will be attentively examined during the forthcoming steps of the Cigeo project safety options file (DOS) examination, which will result in ASN issuing its opinion on the Andra file in the summer of 2017.

Origin of the organisation of the international review and positioning in the Cigeo safety options file examination by ASN

Following the public debate on the Cigeo deep disposal project, the conclusions of which were issued at the beginning of 2014, the Andra Board decided to modify the organisation of its project. Andra planned to submit a safety options file (DOS)1 on the Cigeo facility project before applying for the creation authorisation.  

In line with the incremental development as stipulated in the ASN safety guidelines concerning the disposal of radioactive waste in deep geological formations, ASN favourably welcomed this decision and notified Andra of its expectations with regard to the contents of this file at the end of 2014.

Examination of the file submitted by Andra began in the spring of 2016. The international review was held within the framework of this examination.

The results of this review are being made available to the general public, IRSN and the Advisory Committees on whose expertise ASN draws.

ASN aims to issue its opinion on this file in the summer of 2017.

1. Any person intending to operate a basic nuclear installation may, prior to initiating the creation authorisation procedure as laid down by article 29 of the Act of 13th June 2006, ask ASN for its opinion on all or part of the options it has adopted to ensure the safety of this installation. In an opinion issued and published in the conditions determined by itself, ASN specifies to what extent the safety options presented by the applicant are such as to prevent or mitigate the risks to the interests mentioned in I of article 28 of the Act of 13th June 2006, in the light of the technical and economic conditions prevailing at the time. It may define the additional studies and justifications that may be necessary for a possible creation authorisation application. It may set a validity period for its opinion. The applicant is notified of this opinion and it is communicated to the Ministers responsible for nuclear safety.

Date of last update : 16/01/2018