Whilst the Environment Minister Chantal Jouanno has merely demanded an “enquiry” in an obvious attempt to buy time for the matter to be forgotten, the”Sortir du nucléaire” network (Network phasing out the nuclear age) wants French radioactive waste abandoned in Russia to be sent back to France.
There is indeed no way of justifying why the French nuclear industry gets rid of its radioactive waste abroad. EDF misleadingly argues that it is “recoverable material“, not waste. However, this argument is flawed: it is not more justified to leave “recoverable material” rather than waste in Russia.
France’s nuclear industry must suffer the consequences of its activity and finally have to answer for its actions in public. French citizens must also be aware of the alarming accumulation of different types of waste and radioactive residue produced by the nuclear industry. They must also realise that no solution has been found to dispose of this waste.
Bringing the waste that was sent to Russia back to France will force the French authorities to try and find a new storage site. This will be harder to find in France than in Siberia. It will also highlight the fact that in spite of its disgraceful tactics, the French government has not been able to establish the creation of landfill site for radioactive waste for several months. Attempts in Aube in early 2009 were thwarted by the local population and antinuclear associations.
Moreover, other waste and residue produced abroad by the French nuclear industry, like the “sterile” (huge amounts of residue from uranium extraction) waste which have been abandoned by Areva on open-air sites in Niger, should be sent back to France,. This uranium is used to fuel French nuclear reactors and so morally, the waste belongs to France.
The “Sortir du nucléaire” network wants the public to take cognizance of the fact that the nuclear sector is one of the industries that pollute the most and despite 50 years of promises, there is still no solution for radioactive waste. The only reasonable conclusion is that nuclear activity should cease as soon as possible so that no new waste is produced.