The management of long-lived LLW especially radium-bearing waste with some 70,000 m3 (originating from chemical industry) and graphite waste with some 100,000 m3 (originating from the first generation of French graphite-gas reactors, called UNGG, and being dismantled) is currently the subject of studies performed by Andra. Other waste such as disused sealed sources or bituminous waste could be added to this inventory, meaning some 30,000 to 40,000 m3 more. The disposal concepts are based on shallow disposal within a low-permeability clay host-formation at a depth varying from some 15 meters excavated from surface if the formation is outcropping (radium-bearing waste) or down to 200 meters through an underground installation if the formation is deeper (graphite waste).
According to the provisions of the 2006 Planning Act on the sustainable management of radioactive materials and waste and the 2008-357 Decree of April 16 2008, Andra issued, by end 2008, a report assessing the suitability of possible sites to host such a disposal facility which should be commissioned by 2013.
A call for expression of interest has been launched by mid-2008 to identify volunteering municipalities among some 3000 ones with a potentially suitable geology for shallow disposal; by the deadline of end October 2008, some 40 municipalities did show an interest. On this basis, Andra issued a report by end 2008 to the government, assessing the suitability of possible sites to host such a disposal facility. Following its review by respectively the regulator (ASN) and the CNE, the final selection by the government ended with 2 municipalities, which decided to withdraw their candidature by mid-2009.
In the meantime, the situation of the existing storage facilities, in term of safety, is under consideration.