The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Electricite de France (EDF) keen to market nuclear power to Asia

French nuclear giant EDF seeks business in Asia China and India loom large for the world’s largest nuclear power company, Nikkei Asian Review, TALLULAH LUTKIN and TOGO SHIRAISHI, Nikkei staff writers, 19 Oct 17,    PARIS — The world’s largest nuclear power company, Electricite de France, believes nuclear power still has a role to play in the future, despite forecasts suggesting the market is in getting precarious. According to one senior EDF official, there are still plenty of opportunities in nuclear plant construction — especially in Asia — that can complement renewable power sources……

State-owned EDF is determined to play a role in the growth of the nuclear power industry worldwide…..

For future projects, EDF has its sights on China, where most of the world’s new reactors are currently being built…..

In India, EDF’s nuclear ambitions should benefit from a combination of a growing economy still reliant on coal, a lack of access to electricity for millions of people, and an existing nuclear program, Ursat said.

The company also plans to jointly develop a plant in Turkey in cooperation with Japan, using a new reactor design, the ATMEA1, developed by French multinational Areva and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. EDF’s close partnership with Mitsubishi is an indication of the importance of the Japanese market, Ursat said.

EDF is in the process of acquiring part of Areva, which is being restructured to save it from bankruptcy.  EDF will acquire Areva’s nuclear construction operations, renamed New NP, in December for between 1.25 billion and 1.875 billion euros. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is taking a 19.5% stake in New NP.

Ursat acknowledges that the nuclear power industry faces hurdles. “One of the challenges facing new projects is cost overruns,” he said. Thus, New NP’s primary objective is to “make new projects profitable, stay on schedule and lower costs.”……..

Projections by the International Atomic Energy Agency do not fully support EDF’s optimism, and vary significantly depending on circumstances. In the upper-end scenario, nuclear electricity generating capacity could increase from 391 gigawatts in 2016 to 874GW in 2050 worldwide. In the lower-end scenario, it would decline until 2040 before rebounding to current levels in 2050. Only three reactor constructions were started in 2016, down from 15 in 2010.

Moreover, some developed countries have decided to partly phase out nuclear power. France has announced its intention to close up to 17 nuclear reactors. South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has vowed to cancel all plans for new nuclear power plants and “move toward a nuclear-free era,” something Germany is already pursuing. Both South Korea and Germany are looking to renewable sources as a replacement for nuclear power, rather than merely as a supplement.

Meanwhile, renewable energy sources are becoming more competitive. According to the International Energy Agency, auction prices for solar power will drop from over $150 per megawatt-hour in 2013 to $30 in 2020…..


October 20, 2017 Posted by | France, marketing | Leave a comment

100 employees evacuated from office of French nuclear station , due to mysterious package found

Valeurs 17th Oct 2017,[Machine Translation] Security. According to information from France Bleu,
around a hundred employees were evacuated on Monday 16 October after the
discovery of a suspect package at one of the offices of the Cruas-Meysse
nuclear power plant in the Ardèche.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Nuclear wastes – a divisive problem for the French, that could mean the end of the industry

“if we manage to stop it, it will mean the end of the industry. Regardless of how you look at it, nuclear power is an industry with no future.”

What to do with nuclear waste? The question dividing France, , 17 Oct 17On 15 August, an anti-nuclear campaigner almost lost his foot during a demonstration in Bure, in the east of France. One month later, on 20 September, police conducted several raids on premises housing activists in the village, including the emblematic “Maison de la résistance”, (House of Resistance), the nerve centre of the fight against the nuclear dump.

The small village of Bure, in the Meuse department, has crystallised the anti-nuclear campaign in France in recent months. In 1998, it was selected as the site for an Industrial Geological Storage Centre (Cigéo), where the plan is to progressively bury 85,000 cubic metres of highly radioactive long-lived waste in a bed of clay, 500 metres below ground, by means of operations expected to last 150 years.

The ANDRA (National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management), which is managing the project, is expected to apply to the IRSN (French Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety) for authorisation to build in 2019. Its application has been deferred on several occasions due to legal and technical setbacks, which could explain the growing hostility towards the anti-Cigéo activists.

In an open letter, the residents of Bure and the surrounding area recently denounced the “systematic strategy of tension and asphyxiation” launched by the state several months ago, a strategy “aimed at wearing us down and isolating us, like hunted beasts”.

The closer the project comes to the completion phase, the stronger the opposition, and the more the noose of repression is tightened around the anti-nuclear campaigners.

A far from satisfactory solution

The 54 nuclear reactors in France, the second largest producer of nuclear energy in the world, behind the United States, produce 12,000 to 15,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste every year. This includes both low level short-lived radioactive waste and much more toxic long-lived waste.

“The uranium industry, presented as a “virtuous cycle” by the nuclear lobby, actually conceals a chain of dirty, polluting and unmanageable fuel, from the mine to the waste disposal phase,” denounces the French anti-nuclear network Sortir du Nucléaire.

Whereas before, France used to dispose of its nuclear waste in repositories in the Atlantic Ocean, underground disposal now seems to be “the only management option”, says Matthieu Denis-Vienot, who is in charge of institutional dialogue at ANDRA, in an interview with Equal Times.

This agency was given the task, in 1979, of answering the insoluble question of how to manage this waste, which can be destroyed by no known chemical or mechanical means, and is extremely toxic.

“We have the technical capacity to store this waste in such a way that it is harmful neither to man nor to the environment, nor the object of malicious acts,” ensures Matthieu Denis-Vienot. “Our priority is therefore focused on confining this waste, because we want to act responsibly and not to leave this burden with future generations.”

This option, although it has been written into French law since 1991 and is in line with the advice of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is far from satisfactory, according to some researchers.

“Whether the waste is thrown into the sea or buried in the ground, the principle behind it is the same: get rid of it, so we can forget about it, because we don’t know what to do with it,” argues Jean-Marie Brom, a physicist and researcher with the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research). “What I can tell you as a scientist, is that burying it is the only solution, but it is far from being a good one.”

At ANDRA, the response to this is: “It’s all well and good to say it’s a heresy, but now that it’s there, what can we do about it?”

And that is the final argument put forward to the anti-Cigéo movement by ANDRA. The waste to be buried in Bure is all that generated by 43 years of nuclear energy production.

For the time being, it is being kept at the storage and reprocessing plant in La Hague, in the Manche department of France, where it is vitrified and placed in containers. It is a valid precaution, given that although this waste only represents four per cent of the total, it accounts for 99 per cent of the radioactivity emitted. Moreover, it is the waste with the longest lifespan. It takes 24,440 years for plutonium, for example, to lose half of its radioactivity.

The other 96 per cent of the waste, which accounts for one per cent of radioactivity, is stored on the surface, in the main, at two other storage centres, a few dozen kilometres from Bure.

Anti-nuclear campaigners are outraged by the situation. “It is far too dangerous. Firstly, it means that for 100 years, two radioactive convoys will cross France every day to come to Bure. And secondly, the safety of the site cannot be guaranteed when such long lifespans are involved. What will happen if, one day, these 200,000 “parcels” resurface, whilst they are still radioactive?” asks Jean-Marc Fleury, president of Eodra, a group of elected officials from the Grand Est region who are opposed to the Cigéo project.

The response from ANDRA is that geologists have conducted research and have established that the clay subsoil in the Meuse department of France is a stable geological formation over time.

The IRSN (French Institute for Radiological Protection and Reactor Safety), in its report from July, pointed to a number of risks, such as fire, and whilst acknowledging that the project had reached “satisfactory technical maturity”, it concluded that ANDRA’s current waste disposal concept “did not provide sufficient safety guarantees”.

The anti-nuclear campaigners highlight the example of the United States’ WIPP facility, in New Mexico, where a fire led to the release of radioactive gas, or that of Asse, in Lower Saxony, Germany, where 126,000 barrels of radioactive waste have to be evacuated from an old salt mine being eroded by seepage.

All these countries, confronted with the same problem, are far from having found long-term solutions, and face the same criticisms from the anti-nuclear movement.

Future of nuclear industry at issue

For those opposed to the Cigéo project, it is an ethical issue. “Since we know that collective memory is relatively short, it is possible that in a thousand years, it might be forgotten that it there is radioactive waste in Bure and people will go through these areas, with all the risks that entails,” explains researcher Jean-Marie Brom. “How can we warn future generations that there is extremely dangerous waste here?”

A whole new dimension is added when taking into account the waste to come from the nine reactors due to be decommissioned. And all the more so given that this number is expected to rise, with the Energy Transition Law, which envisages reducing the share of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix from 72 to 50 per cent by 2025.

The waste resulting from this decommissioning will have to be stored somewhere.

Beyond the unresolvable waste issue, the fight against the Cigéo project is part of a wider case against the nuclear industry in general. In a context where Germany has announced plans to close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022 and where Italy no longer has nuclear power, France stands out as an exception in the eyes of the activists.

“What is at stake in Bure, is the future of nuclear power,” says Jean-Marc Fleury. “If the Cigéo is not built here, the nuclear industry will come to an end in the next ten years, because a project like this could never be implemented anywhere else, everyone is conscious of that. That’s why we are fighting: if we manage to stop it, it will mean the end of the industry. Regardless of how you look at it, nuclear power is an industry with no future.”

Matthieu Denis-Viennot of ANDRA is not convinced by this line of reasoning. “The Cigéo has to be left out of the debate for or against nuclear power. We may not have chosen to launch the nuclear industry in France, but the fact is that, today, electricity comes mainly from this resource. Given the staggering lifespan of this radioactive waste, we can always question whether such or such a decision is legitimate, but that should not, nevertheless, reinforce indecision.”

So far, Nicolas Hulot, France’s new minister for the ecological transition, has not taken a stand.

The anti-Cigéo groups have, however, repeatedly reminded him of the positions he has taken in the past, including this photo from October 2016 of him posing, and smiling, with a placard against the Cigéo project.

But it seems that the new minister, who has taken off his environmental activist’s hat, has a short memory and is in no hurry to stop the project.

This story has been translated from French.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | France, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

29 French nuclear reactors at risk, warns France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).

29 French nuclear reactors vulnerable to natural disaster – safety watchdog 

Another nine reactors at four nuclear sites are at “risk of partial loss,”which is ‘level 0’ according to the INES. The scale has 7 levels that describe the safety significance of nuclear and radiological events, with the highest level classified as a ‘major accident,’ and events from levels 1 to 3 classified as ‘incidents.’ Events without any safety significance are rated as Below Scale/Level 0.

The French company EDF, which operates the country’s nuclear reactors, said earlier that 20 reactors might not be able to withstand earthquakes, which could cause a collapse of their cooling systems, and nine reactors’ cooling systems could also be at risk.

The ASN said that thickness measurements of pipeline systems at the Belleville Nuclear Power Plant in May and June 2017 revealed the metal is too thin to resist an earthquake. After discovering the vulnerabilities, “a thickness measurement campaign” was carried out by EDF at potentially at risk nuclear facilities.

EDF said on October 11 that it was fixing pipe problems at 20 nuclear reactors to prevent the collapse of cooling systems, and the ASN is currently checking the progress.

Last week, Greenpeace activists staged a fireworks display on the premises of the Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant to highlight “security risks” at the facility. Four reactors at the site were included among reactors at risk level 2 by the ASN.

France operates 58 nuclear reactors with total capacity of 63.2 GWe. Concerns over seismic safety were among the reasons it was decided to shut down the Fessenheim plant by April 2020.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

In 20 French cities, Greenpeace activists highlight the vulnerability of nuclear spent fuel pools

Le Point 14th Oct 2017, [Machine Translation] Swimming caps on the head and installed in cardboard
pools symbolizing the “fragility of spent fuel storage pools”, Greenpeace
activists organized actions in about twenty cities Saturday to point the
finger at the safety of nuclear power plants.

“Greenpeace is calling for EDF to act and protect these pools with containment enclosures, as is the
norm for new reactors,” said AFP Chris Schneider, an NGO activist in Paris.

“They are next to the reactor and receive the fuel and they can be targeted
by acts of malice”, added another activist, Jacques Delor, in Bordeaux,
demanding their “bunkerization”.

These actions took place in about twenty cities, including Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Lille, Rennes and Strasbourg, each
carried out by a dozen activists. Yellow swimming caps marked with the
symbol of radioactivity and pool fries in hand, some were installed in
false cardboard basins cracked on which was written “Swimming pool
cardboard = nuclear accident” and “EDF, the love of risk”.

October 16, 2017 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Greenpeace protestor show poor security at French nuclear station – by breaking in!

Protesters Broke Into a Nuclear Power Plant to Prove How Badly Defended It Is Stunt was to show poorly defended France’s nuclear plants are, Fortune, By Reuters  12 Oct 17 

Greenpeace activists broke through two security barriers and launched fireworks inside the grounds of a French nuclear plant on Thursday to highlight the vulnerability of the plants to attacks.

The environmentalist group issued video footage showing several of its members inside the fence of EDF’s Cattenom nuclear plant in northeast France, and launching several rounds of fireworks over the plant.

Local police said eight people had been detained. EDF said there had been no impact on Cattenom’s security and condemned Greenpeace’s intrusion as “irresponsible.”

“Do we need to wait for a malicious attack on a nuclear plant before EDF gets out of denial?” asked Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaign head Yannick Rousselet.

Olivier Lamarre, deputy head of EDF’s French nuclear fleet, said on a call with reporters that Greenpeace activists had broken through two barriers and reached the reactor’s nuclear zone to within a few tens of meters of the nuclear installations.

He said that as the activists had raised their hands in the air and unfurled a Greenpeace banner, police officials present on the site arrested them without violence within eight minutes……..

Greenpeace this week published a report saying the spent-fuel pools of EDF’s nuclear reactors are highly vulnerable to attacks as their confinement walls have not been designed with malicious attacks in mind……..

October 13, 2017 Posted by | France, incidents, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Greenpeace activists set off fireworks at nuclear plant in France.

 12 Oct 17   Greenpeace activists set off fireworks inside a nuclear plant in eastern France early Thursday after breaking into the facility to underline its vulnerability to attack, the environmental group said.

“Our activists launched a firework in the perimeter of a French nuclear plant. These installations are vulnerable,” the group said on Twitter, along with a video of the stunt at the plant in Cattenom, near the border with Luxembourg…….

October 13, 2017 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

The danger in France’s nuclear spent-fuel pools

France’s nuclear spent-fuel pools major security risk: Greenpeace,
Geert De Clercq, 10 Oct 17, PARIS (Reuters) – The spent-fuel pools of French utility EDF’s nuclear reactors are highly vulnerable to attacks, Greenpeace said in a report published on Tuesday.

Written by a group of nuclear experts and delivered to French authorities, the report says that spent-fuel pools, which typically contain the equivalent of one to three nuclear reactor cores, have not been designed to withstand external aggression.

An attack leading to a loss of cooling water could spark a spent-fuel fire that could contaminate areas as far as 250 kilometers away, Greenpeace’s Yannick Rousselet said.  “EDF must address this issue and reinforce its spent-fuel pools,” he said.

EDF, which operates 58 reactors, denied its spent-fuel pools are at risk and said they have been designed to withstand earthquakes and flooding as well as terror attacks. “Our nuclear fleet is safe and EDF,  in close cooperation with the authorities, permanently evaluates the risk of terror attacks,” and EDF spokeswoman said.

 Once uranium fuel is burned, the waste – which remains radioactive and very hot for years – typically is cooled in pools 2-3 years before being shipped to processing plants.

Greenpeace experts estimate the cost of upgrading the pools’ safety at about one billion euros ($1.2 billion) per reactor.The group said that since France has built many nuclear plants right by its borders, citizens of Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg are at risk.

“Nuclear facilities could be an attractive target for a terror organization,” said German nuclear expert Oda Becker.

Becker said the biggest risk is a complete loss of cooling water, which could happen if the building’s walls are hit by an airplane, a helicopter loaded with explosives or wall-penetrating rocket-propelled grenades.

Areva’s La Hague plant is seen as particularly vulnerable. “With the equivalent of about 114 reactor cores in its pools … La Hague is the nuclear facility that presents the highest risk in Europe,” said Yves Marignac, one of the experts…..

October 11, 2017 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

EDF wrestling with problems on the Hinkley Point nuclear power project

Les Echos 4th Oct 2017 [Machine Translation] Members of the board of directors of EDF and the
executive committee – met Tuesday in Hinkley Point, south-west England, for
a “delocalized strategic seminar” and to visit the site of the two EPRs.

Because of its location, project governance is much more complex than that
of the EPR project in Flamanville (Manche). Three teams are at work, with
about 700 people in Montrouge (France), 850 in Bristol (Great Britain) and
construction teams in Hinkley Point.

It is also necessary to integrate
Areva’s teams into Edvance, the new engineering structure resulting from
the restructuring of the nuclear industry. “There are many issues to be
discussed on the connection between EDF and NNB units in England,” said a
member of EDF’s board of directors before the summer. A site for Simone
Rossi, who will take over the management of EDF Energy on November 1, to
replace Vincent de Rivaz.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

New CEO of EDF, Simone Rossi , facing a thankless task in trying to develop Hinkley Nuclear Power Station   2 Oct 17  Within the next month Simone Rossi will take over as the chief executive of EDF Energy in the UK. With the job comes responsibility for Britain’s first (and according to one of the energy industry’s leading players, perhaps last) new nuclear plant, Hinkley Point C. The plant is set to be one of the most expensive structures ever built, with the costs estimate pushed up again in July to £19.6bn. HPC is least eight years behind schedule (it was originally supposed to be providing the power to cook our Christmas turkeys this year) but is not expected to be commissioned before 2025, with the possibility that even that target won’t be met. Mr Rossi could be thought to have the most thankless job in the world. HPC is unloved and unwanted, a project which gives dinosaurs a bad name. That is true in Britain where the decision to proceed last year was only taken because the prime minister’s staff could not identify an alternative source of power – they should have asked more widely and not relied on those already fully committed to one outcome. Instead they gave EDF the go-ahead but placed the entire construction risk on EDF. Since the company is state owned the ultimate burden rests with French taxpayers. Unsurprisingly HPC is as unpopular in Paris as it is in the UK.

At an intriguing conference on the “Global Positive Future” held under the “high patronage” of President Emmanuel Macron at the beginning of September there was no mention of nuclear power. If Mr Macron accepts the tighter financial discipline implied by the proposed eurozone reforms, repeated payments to EDF will become impossible. Many in EDF, once a great company at the heart of the post-1945 reconstruction of France, see the project as an albatross. Control over EDF’s activities in the UK has been moved back to Paris.
Despite all this Mr Rossi could still emerge as a hero. As a new arrival he can look again at the project and decide that instead of throwing good money after bad, it is time to call a halt and look for lower cost solutions. Price has become the key issue since the original deal on HPC was agreed in 2013. A price of £92.50 per megawatt hour, index linked for 35 years from whenever the project is commissioned, was ridiculous then and is even more so now. Given the inflation we have seen since 2013 that starting price is now over £100 per MWh. The deal symbolised the inability of well intentioned but inexperienced ministers and civil servants to negotiate complex commercial deals. The deal involved no competition and no provision for review if market circumstances changed. The decision demonstrated the unaccountable power of well funded lobbyists.
Circumstances have changed. Over the last four years the price of every available alternative has declined. The cost of offshore wind has fallen to below £60 per MWh in the UK and to just €43 per MWh in Spain. Gas is plentiful and there is no reason to think that a balanced mixture of wind power and natural gas cannot meet future energy needs. …….

October 4, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

French nuclear monitoring group wants to prevent approval of EPR nuclear reactor vessel at Flamanville

L’Usine Nouvelle 25th Sept 2017, [Machine Translation] The nuclear watchdog announced Monday that it has
filed an application for interim measures to prohibit the French Nuclear
Safety Authority (ASN) from validating the EPR reactor vessel under
construction in Flamanville.

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday 10 October
at the Paris tribunal de grande instance, the anti-nuclear association said
in a statement.

“This is probably the last chance to avoid an irresponsible
commissioning of the EPR with its defective tank and the prospect of a
catastrophe affecting the whole of Europe,” according to the Observatory
which calls for the appointment of an independent expert.

At the end of June, the ASN gave a green light to the commissioning of the EPR tank in
Flamanville – before a definitive opinion was expected in October – but
warned that the lid of this equipment could not be used at beyond 2024.

September 30, 2017 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

France to invest 20 billion euros in energy transition from nuclear to renewables

Reuters Staff, PARIS (Reuters) 27 Sept 17, – The French government plans to invest 20 billion euros in an energy transition plan, including 9 billion euros towards improved energy efficiency, 7 billion for renewables and 4 billion to precipitate the switch to cleaner vehicles.

The environment-related investments, drafted by economist Jean Pisani-Ferry and presented by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Monday, are part of a 57 billion-euro investment plan to run from 2018 to 2022.

Buildings are responsible for 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, so the government plans a 9 billion-euro thermal insulation programme that will focus on low-income housing and government buildings, the government said in a statement.

 “The number of badly insulated low-income housing and social housing will be divided by two, and a quarter of government buildings will be renovated in line with environmental norms,” it said.

The programme aims at financing the renovation of 75,000 dwellings per year, or 375,000 over the government’s five-year term.

The government will also invest 7 billion euros ($8.31 billion) to boost the growth of French renewable energies by 70 percent over the next five years.

Investments will include research and innovation to combat climate change, and will speed up France’s transition to low carbon and greater energy efficiency……

September 30, 2017 Posted by | France, politics, renewable | Leave a comment

As French anti nuclear activists organise protests, police carry out violent raids

 The French state intensifies its crackdown on anti-nuclear groups  Possible Slow Fuse,

Many people have bought the argument that nuclear energy is carbon-free, even though it isn’t, and they have accepted the promise from the nuclear industry that there will be no more nuclear catastrophes because all the “lessons have been learned” and nothing of the kind will ever, ever happen again. They say that after every nuclear mistake big or small. The public also accepts without too much inquiry that nuclear reactors could exist in this world alongside a hypothetical abolition of nuclear weapons. Enough people seem persuaded of these arguments, so a passive acceptance of nuclear energy is the norm in most countries that still depend on it.

The issue that ought to be the real deal-breaker is none of the above-mentioned objections, even though they are each, individually, sufficient to make any nation reject nuclear energy. The most serious problem with nuclear energy is that no one, since the time when nuclear power plants were first switched on, has found a way to dispose of irradiated uranium and plutonium, commonly known as “nuclear waste.”

The public has been told that it can be safely buried as soon as nuclear reactor operators find a suitable geological disposal site and a “willing host community” to take it. So far both of these conditions have not been met. Willing host communities are extremely hard to produce, and reluctant host communities have exposed the fact that no proposed disposal site can be guaranteed to be safely sealed off from the ecosystem for the thousands of years into the future.

Over the last five years I have followed the opposition that has arisen to France’s plan to bury its nuclear waste in an enormous facility in northeastern France near the town of Bure. The articles I translated previously can be found at the links at the end of this article. The translation that follows this introduction describes what is happening to opponents in September 2017 as their movement has grown and their lawsuits and legal challenges have been rejected. The state has finally decided to crack down. When a group of people decide to stand up and protect future generations, this is the thanks they get.

Events in France illustrate the serious flaws in our civilization’s approach to energy policy. Any solution that imposes destruction on a local people cannot be called the product of a democratic process. One can say that this is a majority decision, or the nation requires this sacrifice, but any such abuse of a minority is incompatible with democracy because anyone, and thus everyone, becomes susceptible to such tyranny in different times and circumstances.

Some nations are aware of this dilemma so they are content to delay indefinitely the quest for a final resting place for irradiated fuel rods. They hope to someday find the appropriate host community, but it doesn’t matter if they never succeed. As long as they talk of having this intent and pretend a solution is possible, they can continue operating their reactors. France, on the other hand, seems to have been foolish enough to take the idea of building a permanent disposal site seriously. They proceeded to build it over the objections of citizens and in spite of evidence that it would jeopardize future generations.

On Wednesday September 20, police raided several locations in Bure (Meuse region) and surrounding areas inhabited by opponents of the nuclear waste disposal project. For many of them, this operation seems to be “the main focus of police pressure that has become widespread and permanent.” Gatherings of support are being organized throughout France.

La maison de résistance in Bure, the place where opponents of CIGEO meet and organize, was raided for the first time on September 20 at about 06:15.

Bought in 2005 by French and Germn antinuclear activists from belonging to Bure Zone Libre (BZL), this old farm today welcomes activists of many kinds on a regular and permanent basis. “Raiding la maison de resistance is very symbolic. They are getting serious now,” remarks Joel, a resident of Mandres and opponent of the nuclear waste repository. Over almost ten hours, officers went through everything in the building, and seized numerous objects. Joel explained, “They didn’t have enough boxes to seal everything up properly, so they had to have more brought to them. They came with a moving truck, ready to empty the house.”

It was about 6:20 in the morning when officers started their raids at the maison de resistance, in Bure, the grounds of the station at Lumeville, and a residence in Commercy. They also went to an apartment in Mandres-en-Barrois, near Verdun. These places are occupied by people opposed to the burial of nuclear waste in Bure. Managed by ANDRA (l’Agence Nationale pour la gestion des Déchets RAdioactifs), this project was baptized as CIGEO (Centre Industriel de stockage GEologique)

The forces of public order justified their entry into the maison de resistance with a warrant from a commission of inquiry formed to investigate an attack on the hotel-restaurant of the ANDRA laboratory last June.

According to the website MVC.Camp maintained by the activists on the site, “There were forty officers, and they made their entry violently. Equipped with a crowbar, they broke the door and, it seems, some car windows.”

At the train station, about fifteen officers were present, accompanied by a prosecutor and drug-sniffing dogs. They came in with a warrant from the commission allowing a search for drugs. In Commercy, they also arrived about 6:00 and seized a computer, a hard drive and a portable phone. During this time, roadblocks were put up at Ribeaucourt and at Mandres.

“The people here are exhausted and afraid”

According to the prosecutor in Bar-le-Duc, Olivier Glady, interviewed by AFP (Agence France Presse), officers seized helmets, gas masks and fireworks, 140 grams of “packaged” cannabis resin, ten cannabis plants, as well as data and phones. They were pursuing three different investigations:

  1. The one ordered by the commission of inquiry mentioned above.
  2. Another investigation was launched after confrontations that occurred at a protest on August 15, according to Mr. Glady.
  3. Some raids were related to “infractions of drug laws,” he added.

For the organization Sortir du Nuléaire, “this raid comes after many months of permanent police harassment in the villages around Bure, with constant patrols by police cars and helicopters, and roadblocks where both protesters and farmers have to show identification.”

In a press release, the group denounced “these unacceptable methods and the escalation in this strategy of tension. It is shameful that the State chooses targeting of opponents rather than abandoning this dangerous project that imposes a danger on future generations.” The group is calling for protests throughout the country (see list below.)

A resident of Mandres, an opponent of the CIGEO project, told Reporterre, “It’s the first time we’ve seen an operation of this scale in Bure.” For him, it’s the main focus of a police pressure that is now diffuse and permanent. “Officers patrol daily in the streets and villages, filming and harassing, controlling everything in a pervasive manner. They are raising the tension in order to discourage people, making people afraid, and pushing them to the margins, but all they’re doing is motivating people to mobilize more.”

Michel Labat, another resident of Mandres told Reporterre he was revolted. “It’s incredible. So many police everywhere. Today there is no more opposition. As soon as we do something, they call in the police. Then they insult and harass us regularly. They have no respect. People here are exhausted and afraid.”

For Jean-Francois Bodenreider, a physiotherapist, a resident of Bonnet, and president of the group Habitants Vigilants de Gondrecourt said, “These raids are a way of destabilizing the struggle, a way of focusing on other things. While we are pointing out the dangers of CIGEO, they are conducting disciplinary operations, portraying opponents as druggies and criminals. This makes people stop talking about the real problems. They don’t know what to say or do to defend le nucléaire, so they talk about something else.

“They are pushing us to our limits to make us do something irreparable”

On September 17, this physiotherapist who established himself in Gondrecourt twenty-five years ago, experienced another of many provocations by police. He was in his yard when a black 4×4 stopped in front of his house. Mr. Bodenreider said, “I approached and the passenger in the front took out his phone to take some photos. He told me he was looking for houses to buy in the area. I asked him to leave because our house is not for sale, then his tone changed. Suddenly, one of the passengers shouted, ‘Go! He has a hammer!’” Mr. Bodenreider’s son, Leonard, a medical student, was in the garage gathering supplies for a camping trip. “Out of fear for his father, and in anger” he threw a rubber hammer toward the vehicle. Then the family was shocked to see the passengers in the 4×4 identify themselves as police officers. They handcuffed Leonard and took him away. The spouses of father and son went to the police station in Gondrecourt and waited patiently until they were finally listened to as witnesses. Mr. Bodenreider recounted, “The officers were talking about attempted manslaughter charges, but some local officers who knew us were there and they defused the situation, and they finally got our son released that evening.”

Leonard will have to appear in court on charges of destruction of property because the hammer slightly struck the vehicle.

“After the incident, I told myself that if I reacted like that it was because I was irritated,” said the physiotherapist. I don’t live under daily pressure, not like the residents of Mandres who are patrolled eight times a day. But this pressure exerted by police patrols affects all of us.” He describes himself as “moderate” in the struggle, but he is sure of one thing: “They are pushing us so that we’ll do something irreparable.”

“Once you are identified as an opponent, you are presumed to be guilty”

Joel, an opponent of the CIGEO project, recently relived the experience of his house arrest during the COP21 summit: “At 6 AM, ten officers came to the door of the friend I was staying with in Commercy. They went through everything for the next hour. One of them had a Taser gun. They left with papers, my computer, and my phone. As a bonus question, the forces of public order asked before leaving, “Do you have anything else to declare regarding Bure?”

As in the other locations that were raided, one of which was Joel’s apartment in Mandres, officers indicated that they were investigating the attack on the hotel-restaurant of the ANDRA laboratory. One catch: Joel was on vacation in Greece at the time. He adds indignantly, “Once you are identified as an opponent, in my case since the COP21, you’re a target and presumed guilty.”

For Joel, this is all proof that the operations this Wednesday were not aimed solely at finding who is responsible for the acts committed this summer. He observes, “They are creating permanent tension in order to break people.”

List of protest events being organized by Sortir du Nucleaire this Wednesday:

Paris à 18h, appel à rassemblement au marché aux fleurs, métro Cité, à 18h. En solidarité également avec les camarades en procès de la voiture brûlée.

devant la Préfecture de Bar-le-Duc à 17h30

Nantes, rdv 18h à Commerce dans le cadre du Front social.

Grenoble, 17h30, au pied de la tour Perret, parc Paul Mistral, par le comité local de soutien contre les GPII.

Nancy place Stanislas à 18h.

Angers, 18h, devant la Préfecture d’Angers.

Épinal, 18h, devant la Préfecture.

Colmar, 18h, devant la Préfecture, Champ-de-Mars.

Dijon, 18h, devant la Préfecture. Événement ici.

Rassemblement en cours d’organisation en Alsace, on vous tient au courant dès que possible.

Rassemblement en cours d’organisation à Reims, idem.

Une conférence de presse commune du mouvement de résistance se tiendra jeudi 21 septembre à 11h à la Maison de résistance à la poubelle nucléaire, à Bure.

More articles about Bure, CIGEO and French nuclear history:

Nuclear Waste Project Hungry for Land

French court: NGOs have no right to challenge nuclear “public authorities”

France’s Bure Nuclear Waste Site on Trial

The Inconvenience of a Geothermic Energy Source Under France’s Nuke Waste Dump

L’état, c’est MOX

Superphénix (some history of the French anti-nuclear movement)     Very valuable information for the anglophone world.  We are constantly being told of how popular and successful is the nuclear industry in France. This is a timely counter to the pro nuclear English language propaganda

September 23, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, France, opposition to nuclear | 1 Comment

French Resistance to Nuclear Dump

Radiation Free Lakeland 21st Sept 2017, French Resistance to Nuclear Dump – the Nuclear Mafia Want to Dump
Radioactive Waste at Bure and they are using Violence to do it. Message
recieved from fellow campaigners in Bure, France fighting a geological
nuclear dump. The industry is desperate to get shot of its wastes.
Violating human rights in every way.

September 23, 2017 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Why is Niger still losing out to Areva?

 Extract-a-fact,  By Quentin Parrinello 18th Sept 2017, In 2014, Niger announced it had successfully renegotiated uranium
extraction contracts with French state-owned company Areva to secure a
greater share of the wealth deriving from their uranium resources.

Three years later, an analysis carried out by Oxfam based on data released by
Areva calls into question the benefits for Niger in the contract

September 23, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France, Niger, politics international | Leave a comment