Champagne has lost its appeal to stop nuclear waste from being stored within a few miles of its vineyards in the Aube.
The administrative court in Châlons-en-Champagne has rejected a plea by the CIVC, Champagne’s member-supported representative body, to prevent France’s national atomic agency ANDRA from continuing to dump radioactive liquid and gas waste at its facility in Soulaines.
While there has been no evidence of seepage at this particular facility, a crack in one of the storage containers was discovered and repaired in 2006. Waste from at least one other site – in Gers (Normandy) – was found to have leached into groundwater.
According to French press agency AFP, the CIVC neither attended nor sent a representative to the tribunal. ANDRA convinced the judges that the site was safe and that its disposal and storage procedures adhere to authorised protocols.
‘In its decision, the court does not mention any anomalies or say the CIVC’s concerns are not justified,’ said the CIVC’s director Jean-Luc Barber in a statement.
‘The CIVC accepts the decision but will remain vigilant, going forward, to ensure the storage of radioactive waste conforms strictly with all rules. The tribunal recognises that the CIVC is competent to do this, and has an interest in this matter.’
Written by Maggie Rosen