Editorial

Interview with Patrick Landais, OPE Director and Director of Research and Development at ANDRA

Photography of Patrick Landais, OPE Director"Beyond its industrial objectives [...], ANDRA hopes to make its observation tools available to the scientific community, in order to develop research programmes that respond to current environmental questions."

"As part of the Cigeo (Industrial Centre for Geological Storage) project for the underground storage of high- and intermediate-level waste that is developed in Meuse and Haute‐Marne, ANDRA has introduced a range of complementary environmental observation, experimentation and conservation methods in its Permanent Environment Observatory (OPE).

The aim of this observatory is not only to build up an environmental baseline before the storage facility is constructed, but also to carry out long-term environmental monitoring over a period of at least one hundred years. The observation area is situated on the border between Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne, on rural land covering an area several hundreds of square kilometers. It contains several continental ecosystems (forests, meadows, field crops and small watercourses) with the same climatic conditions. The observation system that has been put in place must be capable of long-term monitoring of different habitats and the biodiversity they host, by seeking to understand any potential changes linked to human activity that could take place on a local, regional or global scale.

Beyond our industrial objectives of conducting an environmental impact study and monitoring plan, implementing possible compensation arrangements and controlling potential sources of pollutants, ANDRA hopes to make its observation tools available to the scientific community, in order to develop research programmes that respond to current environmental questions, namely the long-term changes caused by global climate change, modifications to agricultural and forestry practices, local industrial facilities, and development of the areas where an industrial project of this scale is planned. These observations and associated research programmes will be used to better understand the dynamics of environmental components with a view to assessing the role of different spatio-temporal scales, and therefore to define observation and sampling strategies in a relevant way. This will also reveal how sensitive different habitats are, as well as criteria that can be used to establish priorities in the observation and preservation system. These studies will also be used to model, predict and distinguish various impacts, and to develop new monitoring tools that will target even more relevant indicators for measuring environmental quality. This work requires a scientific approach, carried out in partnership with French and international scientific research bodies."

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