From preparation of waste packages to disposal
Package preparation, inspection and acceptance
The producers are responsible for conditioning waste at their sites. The quality of the packages is verified by the producers during conditioning, as well as before the packages are sent to Cigeo. The producers' facilities are subject to inspection by the relevant safety authorities (the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), or the French Nuclear Safety Authority for Defence-related Facilities and Activities (ASND)). Andra also monitors producers to verify that they implement a quality assurance programme for waste packages.
Waste packages will not be allowed into Cigeo until they have undergone a process to ensure that they meet the technical criteria for repository safety set by Andra and approved by ASN. Producers will thus have to submit to Andra an acceptance application in which they must demonstrate that the waste packages in question satisfy these technical criteria. Once Andra grants its approval, the packages can be sent to Cigeo.
Transport of packages
Most of the waste packages will be transported by rail to Cigeo. Radioactive substances are transported by specialised companies that have been granted authorisation by ASN. Waste packages to be transported are characterised in full by the consignor. This allows the carrier to define the type of packaging necessary and specify the conditions of transport. Waste is transported in leaktight packaging designed to retain its integrity even in the event of an accident (collision, fire, submersion, etc.). The packaging is made of a variety of materials that maintain radiation levels below the limits set by French regulations.
per year at the start of Cigeo
to 20 trains per year until the end of the industrial pilot phase
per month during the regular operating phase
They set an exposure limit of 0.1 millisieverts of radiation for a person standing two metres from a transport vehicle for one hour, regardless of the type of waste being transported. When loading operations have been completed, the consignor verifies that the packaging complies with relevant regulations.