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Why a tiny French village has become a centre of anti-nuclear protests

By Alison Hird

A French government laboratory in the village of Bure in north east of France is in the last stages of testing the feasibility of storing nuclear waste there. If the project is approved it would be the world's first permanent nuclear waste site. Local opposition, however, is growing.

France is the world’s second biggest producer of nuclear power after the US, and more than three quarters of its electricity comes from nuclear.

The problem is a small amount of that spent fuel will remain dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years.

Around 20 years ago the small village of Bure in the northeast of France was chosen as the site for an industrial Geological Storage Centre (Cigéo).

The plan is to progressively bury some 85,000 cubic metres of highly radioactive waste in a bed of clay 500m underground; protected from natural disasters and possible terrorist attacks

In the year 2000 Andra - the French nuclear waste agency - opened a lab in Bure to test the safety of the future site by testing the stability of the clay. Approved by local officials at the time, some are now actively opposed. And they're being joined by a number of young activists from elsewhere in France.

Reporting: Agnès Rougier

Opponents tag a "road removed" sign in Bure to read "road irradiated" RFI/Agnes Rougier

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