12 Jan (NucNet): French nuclear regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) has called for an update of the estimated cost for France’s planned deep geological repository for high-level and intermediate-level radioactive waste.
ASN said the previous estimate of between €13.5bn €16.5bn ($14.6bn and $17.8bn) dates from 2005 and contains assumptions that are “too optimistic” and “not in compliance with the requirement of necessary caution to such an assessment”.
Moreover, at this stage of project development, uncertainties are inevitable, ASN said.
It is essential to provide a regular update mechanism for cost benchmarking, particularly at key stages of project development, ASN said.
The cost assessment is used to calculate the funds nuclear operators must set aside to cover expenses related to the management of their radioactive waste. These funds must ensure that these costs will not be borne by future generations, ASN said.
French radioactive waste agency Andra is responsible for developing the Centre Industriel de Stockage Géologique, or ‘Cigéo’.
If approved, Cigéo will be built in the Meuse/Haute-Marne area in northeastern France and is expected to be commissioned in 2025. Andra has already carried out extensive geological and scientific studies at the Bure underground laboratory, in the department of Meuse.
Andra said the Cigéo project does not only concern the storage of high-level waste, which requires several decades of cooling before it is stored, but also about 70,000 cubic metres of intermediate-level waste, half of which does not require such a long period of cooling.