Nuclear waste disposal, Bure, France

The first step towards the implementation of the storage site known as Cigeo (Centre Industriel de Stockage Géologique) was the construction of the Meuse/Haute Marne Underground Research Laboratory. It is located 500 metres underground in Bure (North Eastern France) in the Meuse department allowing the study of the geological formation in order to evaluate its capacity for deep geological storage of high level and long lived medium level radioactive waste. It is managed by the 'Agence nationale pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs' (Andra). Its construction began in 2000, having been underway since 1994 as a result of the 1991 law on the management of nuclear waste. The signature of a contract between ANDRA and a joint venture of two engineering companies (Technip and Ingérop) in the beginning of 2012 ended this phase of study and research.
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Basic Data
NameNuclear waste disposal, Bure, France
SiteBure (Meuse)
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Nuclear
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Nuclear waste storage
Specific CommoditiesNuclear Waste
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
15 square kilometre of underground storage facility in a geology of thick layers of argillite rock.
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Project Area (in hectares)1500
Level of Investment (in USD)18,500,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date30/12/1991
Company Names or State EnterprisesGaiya from France - joint venture of Technip and Ingérop (France)
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy., Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, Agence nationale pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersBURESTOP 55 - Collectif Meuse contre l’enfouissement des déchets radioactifs, Bure Zone Libre (BZL), EODRA : Association des Elus de Lorraine et Champagne-Ardenne Opposés à lenfouissement des Déchets RAdioactifs et favorables à un développement durable.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
- Protest house: a gathering place for educating and campaigning against the Bure final disposal plans.
- boycott of participation in official processes.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Under negotiation
Development of Alternatives- Change energy policy: move, in a balanced way, from nuclear power to safer sources.

- Try to minimize transport of nuclear waste and empower the whole community to decide on what to do with the existing waste.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The project has not yet been approved and the final decision is subject to the outcomes of the ongoing public debate phase. The opponents have decided to boycott the public debate arguing that the decision has been already taken, claiming it is a false debate.
Sources and Materials

Law 91-1381 from 30th December 1991 called Bataille law.

Law 2006-739 de programme relative à la gestion durable des matières et déchets radioactifs from 28th June 2006.


Huvelin, P. LANDRA, la transparence et la démocratie: déchets nucléaires et hypothèque de la géothermie en Lorraine, mars 2009.

Mourot, A.; Godinot, A.; Huvelin, P. Synthèse de la Négation du potentiel géothermique de Bure, Synthèse, 10p., novembre 2006.


Business news:
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World Nuclear News:
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Bure Zone libre:
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Buro Zone

Wikipedia entry on the research lab:
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Media Links

Article with links to videos:
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Photo Gallery Burestop 55:
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Other CommentsOther interesting websites:

- Bure Zone libre:

Meta Information
ContributorAlfred Burballa Noria
Last update04/12/2014