France eyes building nuclear waste disposal site

France eyes building nuclear waste disposal site

A French government agency plans to apply late next year for a license to build a final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

A spokesperson for the French National Radioactive Waste Management Agency, or Andra, disclosed the plan in an interview with NHK on Wednesday.

Audrey Guillemenet said the agency will file the application with the country's nuclear safety authority in late 2019.

Guillemenet said that if the storage is authorized, construction will start soon so the agency can begin trial operations around 2025.

The planned site is in and around Bure, eastern France.

The agency has done research for final disposal for about 15 years, using a tunnel as deep as 490 meters in Bure.

Researchers examined the strata there and developed storage technologies.

The agency still faces challenges, including cost-cutting and ensuring safety in managing flammable waste.

Japan and other countries have had difficulty drawing up concrete plans for final disposal, including site selection.