An expert group conducting research for the Ministry for the Protection of Nature and the Environment concluded that there is international scientific backing for the underground storage of nuclear waste in granite, but that French local politicians and the public at large do not support the proposal.

The report entitled ‘High-activity, long-life radioactive waste – the present situation and future evolution- putting in place a Granite consultation mission’, urges more objective information on nuclear energy to be given to the public.

It also reinforces the government’s commitment to pursuing long-term storage options for nuclear waste, including studies on two possible sites, and states that there will be a parliamentary decision on a proposed national strategy in 2006.

The two underground sites selected would both be research facilities, but one or both could be converted into permanent storage sites for long-lived, high-level radioactive waste, the report says. An underground site in clay strata has already been chosen but a granite site has yet to be agreed on, although the report mentions 15 potential sites.

A protocol to govern how nuclear waste authorities should negotiate with a local authority once an underground granite site is chosen, and publicly accessible information on radioactive risk are called for in the report.

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