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Publication of the documents and opinions on the estimated cost of Cigéo

Press release

January 11, 2016

Andra, EDF and AREVA all wish to bring insights into the construction of the assessment of the costs of Cigéo as documents and opinions are disclosed today by the ASN on the project costing.

Following the sketch studies (2012-2014), Andra provided the French state with a costing report regarding Cigéo. The Ministry in charge of Energy has consulted with the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) and the nuclear operators involved, EDF, CEA and AREVA - which will be the future users of the storage facility and will provide full funding - to gather their views on this report.

This assessment of the cost of Cigéo is released ahead of the submission by Andra of the safety options report to ASN in the course of 2016 and of the start of detailed design studies, which constitute key milestones for configuring the Cigéo project and for its costing.

The development and construction of the storage facility will take place gradually over its entire operating life and will also integrate optimizations and innovations compared to the sketch, some of which are already identified. Thus, there are different visions of the project costing, depending on anticipations of technological advances and optimizations that can be developed and valued in subsequent phases of the studies.

In order to converge, many technical discussions are currently taking place between Andra, project owner of the project and the nuclear operators concerned, EDF, AREVA and CEA. These discussions allow sharing a common storage concept, optimization leads to study and the related technical and economic issues. These optimizations are studied by Andra with the aim to implement them throughout the different phases of the storage facility construction, without reducing the level of safety and security.

During the recent visit of EDF’s Chief Executive Officer at the underground Laboratory, the Managing Director of Andra and EDF’s CEO expressed their commitment to strengthen their cooperation in 2016 to optimize the design of this major project. Andra and EDF also agreed to study how EDF will support Andra and how Andra can benefit from EDF’s industrial experience in the project implementation phase.

About the Cigéo project

The Cigéo project is designed to ensure long-term management of the radioactive waste produced by nuclear facilities in France, in accordance with the Environmental Code. This waste is now packaged and stored by nuclear operators that produced them in specific and secure facilities, under their responsibility. Andra conducts research on storage in deep geological formations for over 20 years including at the underground laboratory Meuse / Haute-Marne. The project is now coming to the end of the phase of preliminary design. Studies of detailed design will be conducted in 2016-2017 to develop the creation authorization application. Subject to authorization, the construction of the storage facility could start in 2020.

 

The costing reports cover:

 

- First, studies, technology trials, investments for the construction and operation of the facility for the pilot industrial phase of Cigéo spread over twenty years.

- Then, spread over a hundred years, future expenses related to the construction and the current operating phase of Cigéo. These costs will cover the construction of new disposal cells as and when new waste is managed, the monitoring, maintenance and periodic renewal of industrial equipments, operation and closure of the storage facility, fiscal charges and taxes.

 

Financing of Cigéo

 

Financing of Cigéo is supported in full by nuclear operators (EDF, CEA and Areva).

According to the Code de l’environnement (environmental legislative and regulatory framework), the financing is secured in their accounts by provisions backed by dedicated assets, under the control of the Ministry of Energy. The reference cost of the Cigéo storage considered at present by EDF, AREVA and CEA results of the assessment of a working group led in 2005 by the Ministry in charge of energy and that included Andra, EDF, AREVA, the CEA and ASN. It is the responsibility of the Minister in charge of energy to decide, in light of available evidence and the progress of the project, whether to set a new reference estimated cost of storage.

The Court of Auditors (Cour des comptes) estimated that the cost of storage is in the order of 1 to 2% of the total cost of electricity generation throughout the operating life of a reactor.

The different costing assumptions for the Cigéo project do not impact significantly the cost of electricity for French consumers.

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