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- November 29th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorised

29 November 2013 – Astrium, number two in the world for space, has signed a contract with France’s National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (Andra) for the study and design of surface nuclear facilities of the Industrial Centre of Geological Storage (Cigéo) for high-level and mid-level, long-life radioactive waste. The contract, worth 52.8 million euros, covers a four year study, to help Andra complete the approval request file that the Agency needs to hand over in 2015. If it is authorised, Cigéo could be operational in 2025.

Under the terms of the agreement, Astrium, representative and co-prime contractor along with Tractebel Engineering, and architects Cardete & Huet, will design the entire nuclear facilities to be used to monitor and re-package radioactive waste originating mainly from French nuclear power stations. It will be designed to handle, over a period of 100 years, approximately 80,000 cubic metres of packaged radioactive waste in accordance with very strict specifications pertaining to nuclear safety and reliability. The facility will also have to be capable of adapting to technological developments and to the reversibility required by the project over a 100-year period.

“As part of the Cigéo programme, these facilities will form an industrial complex with exceptional standards, particularly in the areas of safety and reliability,” said Astrium Space Transportation CEO Alain Charmeau. “Andra chose Astrium and its team to design this facility because of our unrivalled track record as prime contractor on major public programmes and our expertise in complex studies – not to mention our proven ability to design and build some of the world’s most reliable systems.”

The agreement falls within the framework of the French law dated 28 June 2006 that tasks Andra with designing and setting up a reversible deep-storage facility to ensure safe, long-term management of high-level (HL) and mid-level, long-life (ML-LL) radioactive waste.

The waste originates mainly from the treatment of spent fuels at French nuclear power stations. It takes thousands of years for its radioactivity to decrease, hence the need to implement a management solution that ensures it is stored safely and securely over very long periods of time without the need for human intervention.