Wednesday, March 22, 2006

French govt backs long-term nuclear waste burial -

French govt backs long-term nuclear waste burial -

PARIS (AFX) - Industry Minister Francois Loos said the government has decided to propose long-term burial of France's stock of highly-radioactive nuclear waste, following a 15 year review of the options for dealing with spent fuel from the country's network of nuclear reactors. The burying of nuclear waste in rock formations several hundred meters below the earth's surface, known as 'deep geological disposal', would provide France with a secure solution for waste that will remain toxic for hundreds of thousands of years, Loos said at a press conference. 'Wastes have been produced over the past 40 years; they are there, and it's up to us to manage them,' Loos said, adding that new taxes will be levied on nuclear plant operates, mainly Electricite de France, to fund additional research on radioactive waste disposal. Already, provisions are being constituted to finance nuclear waste management, and Loos said that for a typical French family's annual electricity bill of about 600 eur, about 10 eur is set aside to cover disposal costs. A final burial site will be chosen by 2015, and Loos reaffirmed that France will not allow storage of high-level nuclear waste from other countries. But environmental groups were quick to attack the government's plan, saying that public opinion is largely against long-term burial, which has been tested at a laboratory near the city of Bure in Eastern France for several years. Cap 21, the ecology party headed by former environment minister Corinne Lepage, condemned a 'dangerous and unacceptable project,' saying that studies have not demonstrated the long-term safety of deep burial, which could begin leaking radioactivity over the thousands of years they would have to be stored. Loos said Parliament will begin debating the proposed law on April 6, and hopes a final vote on the project will be made before the end of the summer.


Post a Comment

<< Home