Site of the facilities
If licencing is granted, Cigeo will be built along the border of the Meuse and Haute-Marne districts in eastern France, where research conducted since the 1990s has identified a site with geology favourable to the siting of a deep geological disposal facility. Andra has been working with local stakeholders over the past few years to identify areas that could host Cigeo's underground and surface facilities. Many scientific, industrial, environmental and socio-economic criteria have been taken into account.
Siting of Cigeo's underground facilities
To study the siting of the underground facility, in 2009 Andra proposed to the French government a 30 km² underground zone (ZIRA, or zone of interest for detailed survey) located in the heart of a 250 km² zone defined in 2005 and in which the results of the URL can be transposed.
Technical criteria related to safety and geology (thickness of the layer, depth, etc.) were taken into account, as were criteria related to land-use planning and local integration of the project (such as compatibility with siting of the ramp in the bordering Meuse/Haute-Marne area and with potential siting of access shafts in a wooded area, avoidance of siting the facility under the inbabited areas).
The zone proposed by Andra, located a few kilometres from the URL, was approved by the government following a position issued by the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), the National Assessment Board (CNE) and following consultation with elected officials and the Local Information and Oversight Committee (CLIS) for the URL.
Andra subsequently performed geological surveys, the results of which confirmed that the clay layer in the zone exhibits characteristics favourable to the siting of a deep geological disposal facility.
If licencing is granted, the underground facility will be sited in this zone. The specific siting of these facilities in the ZIRA is being studied as part of Cigeo's industrial design and will be presented during the public debate.
Siting of Cigeo's surface facilities
Andra has identified several zones for studying the siting of Cigeo's surface facilities. These zones take into account constraints related to aspects such as flood zones, inhabited areas, protected natural areas and flyover zones.
The local elected officials have asked Andra to look into siting the repository access ramps in a zone located in the inter-districts zone, on the Haute-Marne side and adjacent to the Meuse district. This zone is located around the URL and along the axis of the departmental road. Furthermore, this zone may be served by a railway line if such an option is chosen (the route of the old line between Gondrecourt-le-Château and Joinville runs nearby).
Several siting scenarios have been studied for the shaft zone facility, with emphasis being placed on siting in a wooded area so as to limit the amount of agricultural land taken. Scenario 1 calls for siting the facility in Montiers-sur-Saulx forest. From a technical point of view, such a site is too far from the ZIRA and would cause problems for the subsequent operation of the underground facility. Scenarios 2 and 3 call for siting the facility in the centre of the ZIRA, in the Ormançon Valley forest (a site along the edge of the forest was also considered for the scenario 2). These scenarios are more conducive to the operation of the underground facility. However, scenario 3 requires longer ramps.
On 4 February 2013 the High Committee endorsed the siting proposed by Andra for the ramp zone and the two options to be explored for siting the shaft zone (scenarios 2 and 3).