Last update:

Ageing Bugey NPP threatens Geneva from France

Some 70 kms Geneva, Bugey is one of France’s oldest NPPs. It came into service in 1972 producing about 4.5 percent of France's electricity using PWR. The Geneva authorities sued in France to stop this NPP.


Geneva is alarmed by this ageing French nuclear plant.(1). The Geneva authorities in 2016 outlined their legal complaint against the 43-year-old Bugey nuclear power plant in neighbouring France, which they claim “endangers lives and pollutes water”. A long legal battle was expected.  By 2018  the Geneva authorities  issued a second legal complaint against the 46-year-old Bugey nuclear power plant which is thought to represent a “major risk” to the inhabitants of the Swiss city. The complaint, lodged with a French court, argues that the  Bugey plant has design faults, leakage problems and is located in an earthquake and flood risk area. (2). 

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ageing Bugey NPP threatens Geneva from France
State or province:Ain. Auvergne-Rône-Alpes.
Location of conflict:Saint Vulbas
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Nuclear power plants
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Bugey Nuclear Power Plant is located in the regions of Bugey in the Saint-Vulbas commune (Ain), about 75 km from the Swiss border. In fact it is closer to Lyon than to Geneva, but court cases against it have been launched from Geneva. The site occupies 100 hectares. It is on the edge of the Rhône River, from where it gets its cooling water, and is about 35 km upstream from Lyon and 72 km from Grenoble. The site houses 4 currently operating units, pressurized water reactors of about 900 MWe each. There are local complaints because of nuclear risks and also because every summer warm water is discharged in the river (which is already warm) endangering biodiversity. (4).

See more
Project area:100
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2016
Company names or state enterprises:EDF (Électricité de France) from France
Relevant government actors:Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN) (France)
Conseil d’Etat de la République et canton de Genève.
Conseil administratif de la Ville de Genève.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:SDN. Network.
Sortir du nucléaire Bugey (Madeleine Chatard-Leculier).
Reporterre (environmental news).
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The attempt to bring to justice (in France) those responsible for the nuclear risks that might reach Geneva, failed in 2016 and again some years later. Complaints from Geneva against the old Bugey NPP continue.
Sources & Materials

(5) Le Figaro,Genève porte plainte contre la centrale nucléaire française du Bugey. Par Mélanie Faure, 02/03/2016
[click to view]

(2) Neighboring France: Bugey nuclear power plant: Geneva appeals – Switzerland. February 20, 2020
[click to view]

(3) Centrale nucléaire du Bugey : une plainte franco-suisse remusclée. 22 janvier 2019 | Florence Roussel |
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

(1) Genève. 28 avril 2021. Genève poursuit son combat pour fermer la centrale nucléaire du Bugey.
[click to view]

(4). Video, warm water thrown to the Rhone in hot summer summer day. "Pour les militants anti-nucléaire, rejeter de l'eau chaude dans le Rhône en pleine canicule présente trop de risques pour la biodiversité."
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update29/07/2022
Conflict ID:6102
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.