Luxembourg's Minister of the Environment Carole Dieschbourg held a press conference this morning on the launch of a cross-border public consultation on the Belgian royal decree for the disposal of nuclear waste.
The Belgian authority for the management of nuclear waste, ONDRAF, is currently defining the policy for the management of high-level and / or long-lived radioactive waste. The solution proposed by the Belgian authority is to dispose of nuclear waste underground using geological storage.
ONDRAF has now submitted for public consultation the preliminary draft royal decree on this process, as well as a report on its environmental impacts.
The environmental impact report identifies the areas that could potentially accommodate the long-term nuclear waste management facility, some of which are close to the Luxembourg border: Namur (80 km from the Luxembourg border); Dinant (70 km);Plateau de Herve (55 km); Gaume (5 km); Neufchâteau syncline (this layer crosses Luxembourg); Massifs de Rocroi (88 km from the border); Massifs de Stavelot (15 km).
However, the Luxembourg government has noted several significant inconsistencies in the context of the submission of this report to cross-border public consultation. According to the government, the report wrongly excludes the assessment of transboundary impacts of geological storage by postponing the analysis of transboundary effects to later stages. Similarly, while the report already identifies sites and areas likely to host the landfill, this approach is contrary to an EU directive on the assessment of the effects of certain environment plans and programmes and the protocol of the Espoo Convention relating to strategic environmental assessment. In addition, many of these sites are located near the Luxembourg border.
The Luxembourg government has also pointed out the importance of the Grand-Ducal Bill 7221 establishing civil liability for nuclear damage in this context in providing for compensation for victims in the event of a landfill nuclear waste accident.
Members of the public wishing to participate in this cross-border public consultation can consult the preliminary draft royal decree, the environmental impact report and
the non-technical summary on the website: https://www.ondraf.be/sea2020. Interested parties can also submit their comments electronically using the online form available on the aforementioned website, by post to ONDRAF SEA 2020, avenue des Arts 14, B-1210 Brussels or by email: email@example.com.
The deadline for submission of opinions is Saturday 13 June 2020.