Centre Meuse Haute-Marne (CMHM) : the URL, the Technological Exhibition Facility, the Perennial Observatory of the Environment
Located 300 km from Paris, in the Meuse and Haute Marne districts, a research center operated by Andra hosts the R&D activities in order to confirm the feasibility of a Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for HLW in a claystone formation.
Designed and constructed under Andra’s strict and supervision following its own specification, the URL has been the location of numerous scientific and technological experiments since 2000. It “provides an access to the geological environment under realistic repository conditions” to achieve the following objectives:
Andra’s URL is still expanding at 490 m below the surface in the middle of the Callovo-Oxfordian clay. It consists of a network of 1 km-long interconnected galleries linked to the surface by 2 vertical shafts. From the year 2000 onwards, around 400 boreholes were drilled and about 30km of core samples were collected. The URL is equipped with more than 3,100 sensors and over 1,000,000 measurements are transmitted every day to the scientific offices on the surface.
- Evaluate the geological environment of the future DGR
- Collect data from the clay formation in order to assess the performances of the future DGR
- Test and demonstrate the constructability of the future DGR
Right next to the URL, Andra has constructed a “showroom” facility to present the technologies that might be used in the future geological disposal. Among other equipment and mechanisms, the Technological Exhibition Facility presents to the public disposal packages for ILW-LL and HLW, the product of more than 10 years of research and development.
The Perennial Observatory of the Environment was established by Andra in 2007 with a view to preparing the monitoring of the environment of the DGR. Operated from the CHMH, the observatory covers a 900 sq. km. A sample library, equipped to ensure a long conservation of a sample from the current pre-construction period of the DGR, has been recently integrated to POE.
The French DGR project for HLW, called Cigéo, is one of the most advanced projects of its kind. An application for a construction license with regard to Cigéo will be submitted in 2017, with the commissioning expected in 2025, starting with a pilot phase.
Today, Andra is actively assisting the countries willing to benefit from Andra’s experience and knowledge acquired during the development of the Cigéo project and at the CMHM facilities.