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Unreservedly favourable opinion of the commission of inquiry on the declaration of public utility for Andra’s Cigéo project


Andra has published a press release announcing that the reasoned opinion, the general conclusions and the public inquiry report of the Cigéo project were published on Monday 20 December 2021 on the websites of the prefectures concerned by the Cigéo project, as well as on the dematerialized public inquiry site: https://www.registre-numerique.fr/dup-cigeo, on the website of the French Ministry of Ecological Transition and on the Andra website.

As part of the procedure for examining the application for a declaration of public utility (DUP) for the Cigéo project in France, a public inquiry was held between September 15 and October 23, 2021 under the aegis of a commission of inquiry made up of 5 neutral and independent commissioners.

The public inquiry allowed broad public participation with a total of 4,158 contributions. The commission of inquiry notes that “the public inquiry will have led to numerous contributions from the public, most of them well argued, the majority in favour of the project.”

The Commission of Inquiry gave:

  • A favourable opinion on the declaration of public utility accompanied by 5 recommendations: to establish a prudent timetable for prior (surface) constructions in the event of obtaining authorisations; to ensure a harmonious landscape integration with the rural landscape; to proceed with a gradual clearing of Lejuc wood, solely for the needs of the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs (DRAC, in charge of Archaeological excavations) in order to preserve biodiversity as much as possible; to maintain a visual screen on the southern part of surface facilities of Cigéo project to preserve the views from the surrounding villages; to complete communication with the public in its neighbouring territory and to adapt it according to Cigéo’s operational phase, while recognising the importance of the communication already carried out by Andra;
  • A favourable opinion for the accounting of town planning documents which, according to the commission, does not present excessive disadvantages compared to the public utility that it presents.

The next steps?

The communities concerned by the accounting of town planning documents will be approached very soon to issue a new opinion on this part of the dossier.

On the basis of all the elements, and after the opinion of the French Council of State, the declaration of public utility making the planning documents compatible could then be issued by decree of the Prime Minister.

The DUP stage is a first milestone prior to the submission of a series of authorisation requests necessary for the advancement of the Cigéo project, in particular the licensing application. The declaration of public utility is not intended to authorise the project, but to recognise its public utility.