Why deep geological disposal?

Last update on : Tuesday 04 September 2012

Ninety percent of the wastes generated each year in France are disposed of in specially engineered surface facilities. However, disposal facilities are needed for the high-level wastes (HLW) and intermediate-level long-lived wastes (ILW-LL) that have been generated in France over the last few decades.

vue generale installations cigeoDiagram of the facilities at Cigeo (the image may differ from the completed site). © Andra

France was one of the first countries to become aware of the need for establishing a responsible, proactive policy on the management of radioactive wastes. In passing the 1991 Bataille Act on radioactive waste management, the French Parliament placed France's nuclear policy on the path to the search for long-term, safe solutions for disposing of radioactive waste and avoid saddling future generations with the radioactive waste we produce on a daily basis.
Each year, radioactive wastes in France are generated primarily at the country's nuclear power plants and by its defence, industrial, healthcare and research sectors. A number of solutions already exist for the vast majority of these wastes. Indeed, 90% of the total volume of radioactive wastes generated each year in France is stored at Andra's engineered facilities
However, the most highly radioactive and long-lived wastes — some of which can remain hazardous for more than 100,000 years — cannot be stored in surface or near-surface facilities for the reason that there is no guarantee that radioactivity can be contained over such lengths of time.
It is for this reason that, in 2006, France's Parliament chose deep disposal as the only solution for ensuring the long-term safety of radioactive wastes and lightening the burden on future generations. This choice was reinforced by a 2011 EU Council Directive. Furthermore, many countries are also conducting research on deep geological disposal, and Sweden and Finland are currently reviewing applications for licences to build underground repositories.
The 2006 Planning Act on sustainable management of radioactive materials and wastes vested Andra with a mission to design and build an engineered storage facility for these wastes.


  • Roy

    "ne pas reporter la charge de la gestion des déchets radioactifs sur les générations futures" je pense que vous allez un peu vite en besogne, les colis seront livrés pendant 100 ans... je ne pense pas que les ingénieurs de l'ANDRA vivront si vieux...
  • Dialogue Andra

    Bonjour Roy,
    100 ans, c’est le temps qu’il faudra pour stocker les déchets produits par le parc électronucléaire actuel. Effectivement, ça peut sembler long : ça concerne approximativement 6 générations (les 3 générations vivant au moment de la mise en service de Cigéo, plus les 3 suivantes, qui naîtront pendant son exploitation). Mais c’est peu au regard du grand nombre de générations qui seraient concernées pour gérer ces déchets en surface : il faudrait entretenir et reconstruire régulièrement les installations durant des centaines de milliers d’années (c’est la durée de vie de certains des déchets stockés).
  • J.Patagel

    100000 ans? c'est un bon debut mais, la période d'activité de l'uranium, pour ne citer que lui, n'est pas de circa 10 millions d'années?
  • J.Patagel

    Joyeux noël!