ASN Report 2018

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 conditioning. 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.). 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 from medical 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). Each type of waste requires the implementation of an appropriate and safe management solution in order to control the risks it represents, particularly the radiological risk. 1.1  ̶   Management of radioactive waste (with the exception of mining tailings and waste rock) The management of radioactive waste is defined in Article L. 542-1-1 of the Environment Code. It comprises all the activities associated with the handling, preliminary treatment, treatment, packaging, storage and disposal of radioactive waste, excluding off-site transportation. ASN oversees the activities associated with the management of radioactive waste from Basic Nuclear Installations or small-scale nuclear activities, other than those linked to National Defence CHAPTER 14 Radioactive waste and contaminated sites and soils 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 actions taken to define and set the broad guidelines for radioactive waste management. 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  of this same code. 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 a 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. In 2018, the General Directorate for Energy and Climate (DGEC) of the Ministry for Ecological and Solidarity-based Transition and ASN petitioned the National Public Debate Commission (CNDP) prior to the drafting of the next issue of the French National Radioactive Material and Waste Management Plan (PNGMDR). The CNDP decided to appoint a special committee to organise a public debate. The DGEC and ASN prepared this public debate in collaboration with this special committee. In 2018, ASN gave its opinion on the safety options file submitted by Andra in 2016 for the deep geological repository project, Cigéo . This opinion underlines that these safety options constitute significant progress and it sets out the additional justifications that will be necessary for a future creation authorisation application. Lastly, in 2018, ASN and ASND –the Defence Nuclear Safety Authority– continued examining the decommissioning and waste management strategy files of the CEA (Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and Orano, received in 2016. ASN and ASND will give their opinions on these files in 2019. 354  ASN report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2018