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Protests by local opponents have delayed efforts by French officials to hold required public hearings on developing a geologic repository for nuclear waste.

The French government is seeking to store highly radioactive waste from Electricite de France SA (EDF)'s 58 nuclear power plant reactors, as well as from Areva SA (AREVA), which provides recycling and reprocessing of nuclear fuel, and atomic research organization CEA.

The site under consideration is near Bure, which straddles the Meuse and Haute-Marne regions.

Public meetings on the plan, known as Cigeo, are required by law, but thus far have been disrupted and canceled due to protests.

A meeting on May 23 in Bure ended when protesters threw stink bombs and police responded with tear gas.

Another meeting set for at Bar-le-Duc June 17 was also canceled, was a meeting set for June 20 in Nancy.

Andra, the waste management agency leading the repository plan, is hoping to begin construction in 2019 and to launch operations in 2025.

The public hearings are intended to result in a nonbinding report on the project, which also needs approval from the government's nuclear safety authority, as well as approval under a new law making the waste disposal action reversible for a limited period.

Andra estimates that the facility will cost 13.5 billion to 16.5 billion euros ($17.4 billion to $21.2 billion) to construct and operate for 100 years.

EDF currently stores waste at reactor sites and at above-ground facilities at La Hague in northern France.

Source: News reports

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Title Annotation:INTERNATIONAL
Publication:Nuclear Waste News
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jul 2, 2013
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