The declaration of public utility (DUP) was signed on July 8, but opponents of the project to bury highly radioactive nuclear waste in Bure (Meuse) are not giving up: since Friday and throughout the weekend, they have been more than a thousand gathered for a colorful “festival”, “Les Bure’lesques”.
“We continue, we have been fighting for 30 years, it is only one more step”, trumpets Régine Millarakis, 71, of the collective “Bure Stop 55”, in the aisles of this militant mobilization, in Hévilliers (Meuse).
For Juliette Geoffroy, spokesperson for the Collective against the burial of radioactive waste (Cedra), this DUP even represents “a springboard” to remobilize the opponents.
Some 31 associations and collectives also intend to file “at the beginning of September” an appeal before the Council of State, according to Angélique Huguin, of the “Legal Front against Cigeo” which brings together activists, lawyers and jurists.
Soberly named Industrial Geological Storage Center (Cigéo), the project aims to bury some 85,000 m3 of waste – the most radioactive of the French nuclear fleet – 500 meters underground on the borders of the Meuse and Haute-Marne.
The National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra), which is piloting this project, hopes to store the first “packages” of nuclear waste there by 2035-2040.
And the DUP is paving the way for Andra to expropriate the private land needed to carry out this project.
Some 1,500 people, according to the organizers, were thus gathered on Saturday under six circus tents for the third edition of these “Bure’lesques”, after two years of interruption due to the Covid pandemic.
– “Nothing to let go” –
On a hilly field lent by farmers, the atmosphere is festive and exchanges between activists of all ages, from all over the country. On the program: concerts, conferences and documentary screenings but also the canteen, vegan, which serves organic and local products.
“Cigéo project, where are we?”, “Water and the nuclear waste burial project”… Long-time activists, inhabitants of surrounding villages and scientific experts take turns at the microphone to discuss the ins and outs of Cigeo.
The objective: to inform the population about the “shortcomings” of the project, according to Régine Millarakis.
Around the tables in the open-air refectory, a choir begins a capella militant songs, while other participants continue their debates.
At 23, Lucie Dubois, an architecture student in Strasbourg, is coming for the first time. She enjoys meeting “people who have been struggling for years” and “inspires respect” in her.
For the young activist, “as long as there is no waste in Bure, we must continue to mobilize”.
“I saw that people were motivated and weren’t going to give up,” enthuses Julien Party, 36, who is also discovering this “festival” which takes place in a good-natured atmosphere, far from the battles. rows that opposed radical militants and law enforcement a few years ago in Bure.
A “festival” which allows “to reach more people” than demonstrations and “restores energy” to activists, welcomes Johan Hervelin, one of the organizers. “Locals come because they feel comfortable there.”