Nuclear waste: Protest in Bure turns into Confrontation

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Nuclear waste protest at Bure turn to confrontation

Incidents erupted on Tuesday in Bure (Meuse) on the sidelines of a demonstration against the Cigéo project for the burial of nuclear waste. The police made use of a water cannon, stun grenades and tear gas against a portion of the 300 to 1000 protesters

In the ranks of the demonstrators, there were “six serious injuries”, hit by grenades and a “thirty minor injuries” affected by tear gas or rubber bullets, said the group of opponents Cigéo project .

“We have a dozen injured, one of which has a damaged foot, and another a severe burn on his cheek”, told a militant speaking on behalf of the collective of opponents Cigéo, landfill project of nuclear waste, and calling himself “Michel”. According to him, a thousand people in total took part in the demonstration Tuesday in Bure.

The prefecture of the Meuse, meanwhile, said that two gendarmes were wounded by a “homemade bomb launched by opponents”.  Earlier, she had said that one of the injured policemen suffered from a “sound trauma” .

According to the minutes of their call firefighters passed by the prefecture, the demonstrators would count at least three injured in their ranks (one ankle, another chin, a third rib).

Hooded protesters

The authorities counted 300 protesters, most of whom were “helmeted, hooded, dressed in black and armed stones, sticks, shields …” . Also according to the prefecture, opponents threw stones at policemen “prepositioned preventive” and then a little later threw their firebombs.

“We do not want confrontation, but there actually were clashes with the police, because they prevented us to protest where we wished” , said Michel.  “It’s a very violent repression, but we will continue the fight, that’s not it will demobilize us”, he added. Another spokesman, who calls himself “John”, said that some of the protesters wore masks effectively by “security” , because according to him they are “regularly summoned to the police” to meet their militant activity in Bure .

“Is it to death with water cannons that Andra has drown the fire and explosion underground? “ Have quipped opponents in a statement released after the clashes.

Burying underground nuclear waste

The Cigéo project, subject to a legal battle between the National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra) and its opponents, aims to bury 500 meters underground nuclear waste the most radioactive and long-lived of the French nuclear fleet.

Opponents have scored a point in early August, when the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has expressed “reservations” about this project, including “uncertainties” about the behavior of highly flammable waste in case of temperature rise.

In July, Andra announced that construction of Cigéo would not begin before 2022.  Its CEO, Pierre-Marie Abadie, had expressed concern about “the dispute on the ground” which he said has strengthened since the summer 2016 and is a source of “tension” with the locals.

An old photo of Hulot

The Minister of ecology and solidarity Transition, Nicolas Hulot, took no position on Cigéo since joining the government, merely stating that he wanted to “further investigate” this project. But opponents have recently unearthed a photo, which dates back to October 2016, and on which we see Nicolas Hulot – who was still minister – holding a sign proclaiming “Cigéo Bure, I say no! “ .

“It is not for us to send a message to @N_Hulot but for him to remember his past positions” have tweeted opponents of the project.

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