The National Agency for the Management of Radioactive Waste has just lost a legal battle against opponents of its landfill center project.
Opponents of the Cigéo nuclear waste landfill project in Bure (Meuse) scored a point on Tuesday, with the invalidation by the administrative justice of the transfer of Lejuc wood to the National Agency for the management of radioactive waste (Andra) . The administrative court of Nancy, seized by residents of the project, invalidated a deliberation of the municipal council of Mandes-en-Barrois by which this small village of Meuse, which adjoins Bure, had ceded in July 2015 land to Andra so that it installs the ventilation stacks for the Cigéo project there.
This project, which aims to bury the most radioactive or long-lived nuclear waste from the French fleet 500 m underground, is the subject of a legal guerrilla war between Andra and its opponents. “Andra, whose ownership is in question, no longer has any legitimacy to (…) continue work” in the Lejuc woods, the Sortir du Nuclear Network said in a press release.
This decision “does not mean the blocking of the project, and even less its stopping”, for its part assured Andra. She noted that the cancellation of the deliberation concerned “only a question of form: the municipal council voted this deliberation by secret ballot, but for that it would have been necessary that at least a third of the councilors make a formal request” , It was not the case. “However, this secret ballot was a way of guaranteeing the independence of the votes knowing that the opponents were present in the council room to put pressure on the elected”, argued Andra in a reaction sent to AFP .
According to opponents, several of the municipal councilors who took part in the vote leading to this land transfer “were in a state of latent conflict of interest because of the links they had with Andra: some included members of their own. family employed by the Agency or its subcontractors, others had been granted thanks to it hunting leases or precarious agricultural leases ”.
“It is obvious that these people, who could be subject to pressure from Andra, should not have taken part in the vote,” says Sortir du Nucléaire. The administrative court gave the town four months to regularize the situation. “In the meantime, Andra’s ownership of Lejuc wood is seriously compromised. The Agency no longer has any legitimacy to expel the activists and resume work there ”, welcome the opponents.
For its part, Andra acknowledged that the work in Lejuc wood could be “postponed”, but that “does not prevent other studies related to the design of Cigeo from moving forward for the filing of the authorization request. of creation, ”she said. Other court decisions are expected in the days or weeks to come in this case. The Bar-le-Duc tribunal de grande instance must in particular rule on April 5 on the possible expulsion of opponents who occupy Lejuc wood.
The question of Bure was invited into the public debate: the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate, Benoît Hamon, thus agreed, at the request of the ecologist Yannick Jadot, to include the end of the project in his program.