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Tuesday 14 April 2015
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The “management” of nuclear waste has no solution and never will have. Whether it’s 500 metres below the surface here in Bure or anywhere else,nuclear waste will always be around. What matters is not managing it but stopping its production altogether.
The reason that the nuclear industry and the French government want to bury the problem as fast as they can is so that they can keep on producing it. We are against the destruction of our living spaces, in Meuse or anywhere else, as well as nuclear energy now and forever. Therefore, we would like you to join us in Bure from the 1st to the 10th August to build a real and strong opposition to CIGEO and its world.
The death of nuclear energy
After a half century of fatal radiation, the nuclear industry is still without a solution to the radioactivity of nuclear waste. Accepting this failure, the French government now wants to impose the burying of waste along with Mafioso like conduct and masquerading as a democracy, monopolising land; authoritarianism and the resulting violence.
After having been displaced several times in the 80’s, the French Agency for the Management of Nuclear Wastes (ANDRA) eventually went east to Bure, Meuse to run its nuclear investigations a little over twenty years ago.
With few people living there (about 7 people/km²), Bure is the ideal area to pile up the humanity’s most toxic waste. An underground laboratory was created there in 2001 and in 2006 ANDRA decided to convert it into an “Industrial centre for geologic management” (CIGEO) despite the public’s opinions about geological storage. There is still no nuclear waste there: the start of the site’s exploitation is planned for 2017 while the first batch of nuclear waste should be there by 2025.
In addition to the laboratory, archive centres and an “eco-library” (a database of the site’s pre-nuclear state) have popped up. Unofficial projects have already begun: widening of roads, land claims by the local Agency of Property Management and Rural Installation (SAFER), clear-cut logging in nearby forests, etc. At the same time, a huge industrial monitoring program is being used in the South of Meuse: logistic centers for the transport of radioactive material, graduate programs related to nuclear industry, etc.
All legal actions to stop ANDRA have failed. They just ignored that 42 000 people signed for a referendum about nuclear waste management, they swept away the precautionary principle that the public consultation recommended, finally they ignored the local by-laws against the burying.
With the help of local and national associations and antinuclear activists from Germany, we have bought a house ten years ago as a reply to ANDRA’s laboratory. Thanks to donations from locals and passing people, it has been possible to refurbish this “Revolution House”. As a community or meeting place, this house was an opportunity to gather independent information about the nuclear industry, make use of renewable energy resources, etc. This place, where many activists from France and elsewhere have been able to meet each other, is now at the heart of the growing local opposition.
Despite what people have done in Bure for 20 years (raising awareness among people, creating a network with other anti-nuclear groups altogether and keeping ANDRA’s projects under supervision), CIGEO is still gaining ground. Therefore, going over our traditional ways of organisation will call for real actions against CIGEO.
Why we are fighting against CIGEO
The nuclear industry cannot resolve the problem of nuclear waste for it is a truly unsolvable one. It is impossible to clear up nuclear waste, although they will last from millions to billions of years. The French nuclear industry does not know how to manage its own nuclear stockpile of waste. Whether we agree on nuclear energy or not, the political elite want us to think that nuclear waste management is a matter of necessity. They try then to cover up this problem with concerns about human future generations’ well-being. Let’s be realistic: since when is nuclear industry concerned about humanity? French government and nuclear industry’s arguments are inconsistent. Otherwise, they would have already stopped producing nuclear waste and not put us all at risk with power plants in activity and radioactive material going back and forth throughout France and Europe.
Some people say: “Nuclear waste is already there, so what should we do with it?” The sad truth is they are right. Today there is nuclear waste and there will be even more in the future. But the same is true at 500 metres underground. To hide a catastrophe is not to remove it. However, if we won’t ever be free of nuclear waste, we do not want to “suggest any kind of solution” to their endless problem either. We are not and we won’t be the “co-managers” of the nuclear industry. To act otherwise will be working for free for the benefit of “nucleocrats”. This is out of the question. What we want is not to put pressure on politicians and nuclear industry for an alternative solution to geological disposal but for the end of nuclear energy production all together.
Half of the nuclear waste that they plan to bury has not been produced yet. For current storage units are full, it becomes urgent for the French government and the nuclear industry to hide the ones whose left and creating enough space for the storage of future ones. In short, they are looking for a quick-fix solution that will legitimate their «electrical-nuclear » program which carries on the catastrophe.
Pharmaceutical and food industries, CIGEO, they are all run by the same power game. Furthermore, CIGEO is a truly marketing operation towards European economic market while the French nuclear industry pretends being in control of its operating chain: from uranium mining to dismantling power plants. Fighting against CIGEO is fighting against the French energy policy which wants to make France the « switch » of Europe and Maghreb. From EPR nuclear reactor to geological disposal in passing by HVT (High-Voltage transmission lines) projects, CIGEO stands at the end of a whole series of nuisances whose spatial planning by the nuclear industry is part of.
In addition to destroying our land, CIGEO will help the electrical-nuclear industry to keep developing worldwide, while securing state power and capitalism. The Nuclear industry is trying to lure people, promising economic growth with the hope of developing electrical European market where “innovation’” sales are possible: electric cars-connected gadgets, smart networks or smart electric metres, and so on. What about the flux of nuclear waste flowing out of Bure? We won’t let it happen either in Bure or in anywhere else for CIGEO is not just “our” problem, it is also yours !
Let’s meet in Bure this summer!
As we blocked collectively the 2013’s public consultation, we got a solid feeling of community in our fight against CIGEO. Thereafter, many people and associations from or near by the village of Bure in opposition to the CIGEO project have expressed the desire to believe again in their ability and rights to fight against the whole nuclear industry’s system. We do not want to inform people only, we want to switch the roles! Thus, this camp in Bure will aim at setting up concrete actions, it also a way to show how many of us are against this project.
Since many years, we have shared our respective experiences of community life and collective actions: knowledge sharing, thoughts about autonomous ways of life, horizontal organisation, looking after each other, and so on. Joining us in Bure doesn’t imply that you are an ecologist or anti-nuclear activist. It just means that you believe in the necessity to create a strong organisational structure going beyond our local struggles.
In Bure, we will create a place where to live together during ten days, sharing our practices, talking about our common fights and our way of living in community, here and everywhere else in the world, without any kind of authoritarianism or oppression. Among others, we will raise issues about the current fights (Bure, ZAD, NoTaV, Hambach forest’s occupation, etc.), how the political means of suppression are changing as well as the reactionary movements, all that in order to be ready against CIGEO or any other big projects of this kind. Last but not least, it will be a great occasion to plan actions for the COP21 in December 2015 in Paris, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.
The CIGEO project planned in Bure will count for about 99% of France’s radioactivity and will stand as one of the biggest European projects for the coming years. The building of such a geological disposal facility in Bure will destroy 200ha of agricultural lands, 200ha of forest lands and a whole valley. In addition, it will create 10 millions of m3 of debris and the circulation of at least two trains a week for transporting nuclear waste during 130 years. Besides, half of this huge nuclear dustbin will be filled by nuclear waste that is not produced in France but in nearby countries. The French National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (Andra) works for the CEA (Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission), AREVA and EDF amongst others.