ASN Report 2017

438 ASN report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2017 Chapter 16  - Radioactive waste and contaminated sites and soils 1. Radioactive waste Pursuant to the provisions of the Environment Code, the producers of spent fuel and radioactive waste are responsible for these substances, without prejudice to the liability of those who hold these substances in their role as persons or entities responsible for nuclear activities. Radioactive waste must be managed in accordance with specific procedures. Waste producers must pursue the objective of minimising the volume and harmfulness of their waste, both before production, by appropriate design and operation of the facilities and after production, by appropriate sorting, treatment and packaging. The types of radioactive waste differ widely in their radioactivity (specific activity, nature of the radiation, half-life) and their form (scrap metal, rubble, oils, etc.). T his chapter presents the role and actions of ASN, the French Nuclear Safety Authority, in the management of radioactive waste and the management of sites and soils contaminated by radioactive substances. It describes in particular the steps taken to define and determine the main radioactive waste management routes and the controls carried out by ASN with respect to nuclear safety and radiation protection in facilities involved in the management of this waste. According to Article L. 542-1-1 of the Environment Code, radioactive waste consists of radioactive substances for which no subsequent use is planned or envisaged or which have been re-qualified as such by the administrative authority in application of Article L. 542-13-2. The waste comes from nuclear activities involving artificial or natural radioactive substances, from the moment this radioactivity justifies the implementation of radiation protection controls. A site contaminated by radioactive substances is any site, either abandoned or in operation, on which natural or artificial radioactive substances have been or are employed or stored in conditions such that the site can present risks for health and the environment. Contamination by radioactive substances can result from industrial, craft, medical or research activities. The year 2017 saw the adoption of the French National Radioactive Material and Waste Management Plan (PNGMDR) 2016-2018, which was transmitted to Parliament in February. This three-yearly plan takes stock of the radioactive substances management policy nationwide, identifies the new needs and determines the objectives to be achieved, more specifically in terms of studies and research to develop new waste management solutions. It is supplemented by Decree 2017-231 of 23rd February issued in application of Article L. 542-1-2 of the Environment Code and establishing the requirements of the PNGMDR and the Order of 23rd February 2017 issued in application of the Decree of 23rd February 2017. On 8th June 2017, ASN gave its opinion on the fourth three-yearly reports submitted by the licensees in 2016. These reports describe the assessment of the costs associated with decommissioning and waste management, the methods applied to calculate the provisions corresponding to these costs and the choices made regarding the composition and management of the assets assigned to ring-fence these provisions. ASN considers that the level of detail in the content of the licensees’ reports is variable and that the EDF file does not contain sufficient information for ASN to adopt a position on the completeness of its evaluation of the financial costs. 2017 was marked by the examination of the safety options file for the deep geological repository project, Cigéo , submitted by Andra, the French National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management, in 2016. ASN gave its opinion on this file in January 2018, considering that these safety options constitute significant progress and detailing the additional justifications that will be necessary for a future creation authorisation application. Lastly, ASN published resolution No. 2017-DC-587 of 23rd March 2017 relative to the packaging of radioactive waste and the conditions of acceptance of waste packages in the disposal Basic Nuclear Installations (BNIs). Two main parameters can be used to assess the radiological risk that radioactive waste represents: firstly the activity, which contributes to the toxicity of the waste, and secondly the half-life of the radionuclides present in the waste which determines the required waste containment time. A distinction is therefore made between very low, low, intermediate and high level waste on the one hand and, on the other hand, very short-lived waste (whose activity level is halved in less than 100 days) resulting mainly frommedical activities, short-lived waste (chiefly containing radionuclides whose activity level is halved in less than 31 years) and long-lived waste (which contains a large quantity of radionuclides whose activity level is halved in more than 31 years).