Press release
Paris, 29 August 2003


The NEA reviews the French R&D programme on deep geological disposal of radioactive waste

The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has just released the report of an International Peer Review of the so-called "Dossier 2001 Argile" which the French Government had requested the NEA to submit to a high-level international evaluation.

The "Dossier 2001 Argile" deals with the research undertaken and results obtained until 2001 by the French National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra), about the feasibility of the disposal of high-level, long-lived waste in a deep geological argillaceous formation of the Meuse/Haute Marne site in Eastern France. It represents a key milestone in the process of studies and research work leading up to a report by Andra due in 2005.

The international review team was impressed by Andra's progress on its deep geological programme since 1991. The report notes that a sound methodological basis exists to evaluate the safety of disposal of high-level, long-lived radioactive waste in clay geological formations. A substantial body of research results and site-specific information has been established, and the priorities for its enhancement by 2005 are well justified. Clear evidence exists of carefully thought-out management procedures to integrate safety assessment, research and engineering design. The review team recommends that careful thought is given to the structure of the documentation to be produced in 2005, and to the presentation and traceability of the information that it will contain. It finds it essential that the scientific and technical basis is communicated effectively to all relevant audiences.

The international review team assembled by the NEA was made up of eight international specialists, chosen for their complementary expertise. This peer review should help the French Government and the institutional organisations and companies involved in radioactive waste management to assess work accomplished and to prepare for a comprehensive assessment of all avenues of research in this field, slated to be submitted to a debate in 2006 on the future radioactive waste management policy in France.

The French R&D Programme on Deep Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste - An International Peer Review of the "Dossier 2001 Argile"
ISBN 92-64-02136-1, 76 pages

Please quote the title and reference in any review.

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