Management of waste containing enhanced natural radioactivity

Published on 16/12/2009 at 14:50

Information notice

By application of the decree of 16 April 2008, setting out the instructions relating to the national plan for the management of radioactive waste (PNGMDR), ASN produced a report on management solutions for waste containing enhanced natural radioactivity. This report presents an overview of its long and short term radiological impact and proposes measures with a view to improving the management of this waste in radiological protection terms, in particular ash and phosphogypsum.

This report relies heavily on the studies ordered in 2005 and 2009 by ASN from the Robin des Bois association ( The ASN presented this report to the working group responsible for producing the PNGMDR. The report was then sent to the Ministry for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and the Sea, and also to the Ministry for Health and Sport in the summer of 2009.

The main recommendations from ASN were:

  • an improvement in the inventory and traceability of waste containing enhanced natural radioactivity, in order to improve control in the management of this waste;
  • a joint analysis by all the parties involved of the feedback from the application of the circular letter of 25 July 2006 from the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development on the acceptance of enhanced or concentrated natural radioactive waste in conventional waste storage centres, in order to optimise and secure existing channels;
  • checking that ash and phosphogypsum deposits will not impact the environment and where appropriate, the implementation of environmental monitoring programmes taking the radiological impact into account;
  •  the production of an inventory of the channels for the re-use of residues containing enhanced natural radioactivity and, where necessary, the production of radiological impact studies associated with the use of these residues;
  • the study of the possibility of ANDRA making storage solutions available to industrial companies, when they produce waste containing enhanced natural radioactivity intended ultimately for a Long Life Low Level Radioactive Waste storage centre;
  • the study of provisions aimed at securing financing for the management of waste containing enhanced natural radioactivity, in particular for waste with high levels of radioactivity, justifying their storage in a Long Life LLRW storage centre.

The industrial activities which are the subject of these recommendations arise mainly from the regulations on classified installations for environmental protection (ICPE). Deliberations by ASN and the Ministry for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and the Sea, which is in charge of these regulations, were entered into with a view to studying practical methods for the implementation of recommendations formulated by ASN in its report.

The new National Plan for the Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste (PNGMDR) 2010-2012 and the associated decree which sets out the instructions relating to it for the period will include these recommendations. The progress of their implementation will be monitored by the PNGMDR working group.

Date of last update : 03/09/2021