ASN Report 2018

3 —  Assessment of the nuclear safety of the facilities operated by Andra Andra is the only licensee operating radioactive waste disposal BNIs in France. This public agency, which became independent of the CEA and more generally of the waste producers by virtue of the “Bataille Act” of 1991, was assigned the long-term management of radioactive waste. The Act of 28 June 2006 consolidates Andra’s mandate for the design and operation of radioactive waste disposal facilities. The Agency is thus tasked more specifically with the design and setting up of a reversible deep geological repository for high-level and intermediate-level long-lived waste and seeking a solution for low-level long-lived waste. ASN considers that the licensee’s organisation and technical resources are appropriate for the operation of the existing facilities and that they are operated satisfactorily. At the end of 2018, ASN conducted an inspection of Andra’s central services to assess the internal procedures for examining the files for the approval of the LL/ILW-SL waste packages and their acceptance by the CSA repository, and the packaging agreements for the HL and ILW-LL packages ultimately destined for Cigéo . This inspection also provided the opportunity to assess the licensee’s organisation for monitoring the package production activities carried out on the waste producers’ premises, which are intended to guarantee the quality of the packages intended for the disposal facilities. It has been noted that the internal technical organisation for examining and monitoring LL/ILW-SL waste packages has improved considerably over the last ten years. In this respect, Andra should be able to fully commission a package inspection facility at the CSA in 2019, which will allow independent inspections, whether destructive or not (core sampling, manual inventory, measurement of tritium degassing, etc.), to be carried out, thereby significantly increasing its inspection capacities, both quantitatively and qualitatively. With regard to the examination of the packaging agreements, the existing procedures must be improved in order to guarantee greater process reliability. Lastly, ASN expects a ramping up of the system deployed by Andra for monitoring the producers of HL and LL/ILW-LL waste packages, given that progress in development of the Cigéo project allows more precise preliminary acceptance specifications for the waste to be defined. The last periodic safety review of the CSA carried out in 2017 highlights the facility’s compliance with its baseline requirements. This review gave Andra the opportunity to reassess control of the fire risks and to undertake an action plan that significantly improves management of the fire risk during the facility operating phase. With regard to the control of earthquake-related risks, the ongoing examination will aim to determine the risk level to adopt as the design basis for the CSA “support” facilities (excluding disposal structures), particularly those accommodating the waste packaging processes. Lastly, gaining better insight into the long-term impacts associated with hazardous substances emerges as an area to focus on for the next periodic safety review. Greater efforts are expected for the CSM. The impact study will have to be reviewed to take into account the regulatory changes in this area and the improved knowledge of the hydrogeological context of the site. Furthermore, ASN considers that Andra must rapidly define the technical principle to adopt to place the facility in its long-term configuration, particularly by improving the repository cover. ASN is also attentive to the continued progress of the work to preserve the memory of the facility, useful not only for the licensee during the monitoring and surveillance phase, but also for future generations once the facility is delicensed. Lastly, ASN has evaluated Andra’s provisions for the long-term expenses of decommissioning and waste management and concludes that they are satisfactory. Andra adopts reasonably conservative assumptions for the various scenarios for placing the disposal facilities in their long-term configuration and for their monitoring and surveillance. 4 —  Management of mining residues and mining waste rock from former uranium mines Uranium mines were worked in France between 1948 and 2001, producing 76,000 tons of uranium. Some 250 sites in France were involved in exploration, extraction and processing activities. The sites were spread over 27 départements in the eight regions: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Bretagne, Grand Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie, Pays de la Loire and Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur. Ore processing was carried out in 8 plants. The former uranium mines are now almost all under the responsibility of Orano Mining. The working of uranium mines produced two categories of products: ∙ ∙ mining waste rock, that is to say the rocks excavated to gain access to the ore. The quantity of mining waste rock extracted is estimated at about 167 million tonnes; ∙ ∙ static or dynamic processing tailings, which are the products remaining after extraction of the uranium from the ore. In France, these tailings represent 50 million tonnes distributed among 17 disposal sites. These sites are ICPEs and their environmental impact is monitored. • The regulatory context The uranium mines, their annexes and their conditions of closure are covered by the Mining Code. The disposal facilities for radioactive mining tailings are governed by section 1735 of the ICPE nomenclature. The mines and the mine tailings disposal sites are not subject to ASN oversight. In the specific case of the former uranium mines, an action plan was defined by Circular 2009-132 of 22 July 2009 from the Minister responsible for the Environment and the Chairman of ASN, based on the following work themes: ∙ ∙ monitor the former mining sites; ∙ ∙ improve understanding of the environmental and health impact of the former uranium mines and their surveillance; ∙ ∙ manage the mining waste rock (better identify the uses and reduce impacts if necessary); ∙ ∙ reinforce information and consultation. 370  ASN report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2018 14 – RADIOACTIVE WASTE AND CONTAMINATED SITES AND SOILS