Bring Your Shovel!

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Let’s meet in Bure this summer!



There is no solution to the problem of how to manage radioactive waste, and never will be. Whether it’s 500 metres below the surface here in Bure, or elsewhere, nuclear waste will always be around. What matters is not managing it but first stopping its production altogether. The reason that the nuclear industry and the French government want to bury the problem as fast as they can is so that they can keep on producing waste. We are against the destruction of our living spaces, in Meuse or anywhere else, as well as against nuclear energy now and in the future. So we would like you to join us in Bure, from the 1st to the 10th August, so as to build a real and strong opposition to CIGEO (the proposed waste management centre) and its world.


After half a century of lethal radiation, the nuclear industry is still without a solution to the radioactivity of nuclear waste. Accepting this failure, the French government now resorts to authoritarianism, imposing nuclear waste dumps with mafia-like conduct whilst masquerading as a democracy, seizing land – with the resulting violence.

After having been displaced several times in the 1980s, twenty years ago the French Agency for the Management of Nuclear Wastes (ANDRA) eventually went to Bure, in a sparsely-populated area of the Meuse departement in north-eastern France, to undertake its nuclear investigations. With few people living there (about 7 people/km2), Bure was seen as an ideal area to pile up humanity’s most toxic waste. An underground laboratory was created there in 2001 and in 2006 ANDRA decided to convert it into an “Industrial centre for geologic management” (CIGEO) despite the public’s opposition to geological storage.

There is still no nuclear waste there: the start of the site’s preparation is planned for 2017 while the first batch of nuclear waste should be there by 2025. In addition to the laboratory, archive centres and an “eco-library” (a database of the site’s pre- nuclear state) have popped up. Unofficial projects have already begun: widening of roads, land claims by the local Agency of Property Management and Rural Installation (SAFER), clear-cut logging in nearby forests, etc.

At the same time, a huge industrial monitoring programme is being used in the south of Meuse: logistic centres for the transport of radioactive material, graduate programmes related to the nuclear industry, etc. All legal actions to stop ANDRA have failed. They ignored the 42,000 people who called for a referendum about nuclear waste management; they swept away the precautionary principle which the public consultation recommended; and finally they ignored local by-laws forbidding the burying.

debat public bure 2

With the help of local and nationalvieuxcailloux organisations, and antinuclear activists from Germany, we bought a house ten years ago as a reply to ANDRA’s laboratory. Thanks to donations from locals and visitors, it has been possible to refurbish this “Revolution House”.

As a community meeting place, this house was an opportunity to gather independent information about the nuclear industry, how to make use of non-nuclear energy resources, etc. This place, where many activists from France and elsewhere have been able to meet each other, is now at the heart of the growing local opposition.

Despite what people have done in Bure for 20 years (raising awareness, creating a network with other antinuclear groups, and keeping ANDRA’s projects under supervision), CIGEO is still gaining ground. Therefore, we need to go beyond existing ways of organising to call for stronger action against CIGEO.


The nuclear industry cannot solve the problem of nuclear waste for it is truly unsolvable. It is impossible to clear up nuclear waste: some of it it will remain dangerous for many millions of years.

The French nuclear industry has no way of managing its own nuclear dustbin. Irrespective of our views on the use of nuclear energy, the political elite want us to think that nuclear waste management is a matter of necessity. They try to present this problem as an issue of future generations’ well-being. Let’s be realistic: since when was the nuclear industry concerned with humanity? The French government and nuclear industry’s arguments are inconsistent. Otherwise, they would have already stopped producing nuclear waste and not put us all at risk with operating power plants and radioactive material going back and forth through France and Europe.

Some people say: “Dangerous nuclear waste already exists, so what should we do with it?” The sad truth is they are right. Today there is nuclear waste and there will be even more in the future. But the same is true 500 metres underground. To hide a catastrophe is not to remove it. However, if we won’t ever be free of nuclear waste, we do not want to “suggest any kind of solution” to their endless problem either. We are not and we won’t be the “co-managers” of the nuclear industry. To act otherwise will be working for free for the benefit of “nucleocrats”. This is out of the question.What we want is not to just put pressure on politicians and nuclear industry for an alternative to geological disposal, but for a complete end to nuclear energy production and its inevitable byproduct.

Half of the nuclear waste they plan to bury is not produced yet. Current storage units are full, so it becomes urgent for the French government and the nuclear industry to hide what is left and create enough space for the storage of future waste. In short, they are looking for a quick-fix solution that will legitimate their nuclear electricity programme which is perpetuating the catastrophe. Pharmaceutical and food industries, CIGEO – they are all run by the same power brokers. Furthermore, CIGEO is really a marketing operation while the French nuclear industry pretends it is in control of its operating chain, from uranium mining to power plants’ dismantling.

Fighting against CIGEO is fighting against French energy policy which wants to make France a pivotal point for energy distribution in Europe and north Africa. From the EPR nuclear reactor to geological disposal, via high-voltage transmission lines, CIGEO stands at one end of a whole series of dangers of which the nuclear industry is a key part. In addition to the killing of our lands, CIGEO will help the electrical-nuclear industry to keep developing worldwide, while strengthening state power and capitalism. The nuclear industry is trying to persuade people, promising economic growth with the intention of developing a European electricity market where profitably new “innovations” are possible: electric cars, connected gadgets, smart networks or smart electric meters, and so on. What about the seeping of nuclear waste flowing out of Bure, which is an end-point of this dream? We won’t let it happen either in Bure or in anywhere else – for CIGEO is not just “our” problem, it is also yours !


As we blockaded the 2013 public consultation about Bure, we get a solid feeling of community in our fight against CIGEO. Thereafter, many people and associations from or near the village of Bure, who oppose the CIGEO project, have believed again in their ability and rights to fight against the whole nuclear industry system. We do not want only to inform people, we want to move people to action! Thus, this meeting in Bure will aim at setting up concrete actions, as well as being a way to show how many we are.

For many years, we have shared our respective experiences of community life and collective actions: knowledge sharing, thoughts about autonomous ways of life, horizontality, care for each other, and so on. Joining us in Bure does not even mean you already have to be an environmentalist or antinuclear activist! It just means that you believe in the need to create strong organisational structures to facilitate local struggles.

In Bure, we will create a place where we live together for ten days, sharing our practices, talking about our common struggles and our ways of living in community, wherever we are in the world, without any kind of authoritarianism or oppression. Among other things, we will raise issues about current campaigns – Bure itself, ZAD (opposing airport construction in western France), No-TaV (against the destruction of unspoilt countryside by an ultra-high-speed railway line between France and Italy), the Hambach forest occupation (opposing destruction caused by plans for open-cast mining near Cologne in Germany), and so on.

We will also consider how the political means of suppression of dissent is changing, as well as looking at right-wing movements, so we are ready to stand against CIGEO or any other projects of its kind. Last but not least, it will be a great occasion to plan actions for the next United Nations Conference on Climate Change, COP21 in December 2015 in Paris, hence linking anti- nuclear and climate struggles.

sauvonslaforet [at]