History and context
Geography of a nuclearized territory
Notes about this map:
- the final installations will take up much more space than that
- the Gondrecourt depot is already built and other constructions are planned
- facilities are not represented: the Areva archives at Houdelaincourt; the EDF archives at Andra .
THE ANDRA’S LABORATORY
In 1998, Haute-Marne and Meuse departments were selected for the construction of an “underground geological research laboratory” managed by Andra (Agence Nationale pour la Gestion des Déchets Radioactifs). Other departments had been approached but too much opposition prevented the project. Construction of the laboratory began in Bure in 2000. Petitions and demonstrations do not weaken(1). In 2006, the State validated the underground storage at Bure and charged Andra with the design and implementation of the Cigéo project for 2025. The project is already several years behind schedule. Today, Andra’s laboratory is a real small town in the Meuse/Haut-Marne countryside that has been guarded since the summer of 2017 by a squadron of cops permanently posted inside the laboratory. The laboratory contains a well with 2 km of test galleries at a depth of 500m. This small town is also composed of a technology center, a hotel-restaurant, a grocery store, a gas station of the eco-library, the archives of EDF.
Testimony of Jean-Pierre, farmer fighting against Cigéo (April 2017):
“It was still unclear: they didn’t say what they wanted to do…. So they had this brilliant idea of a laboratory: to say ‘we are looking but we are not storing’. From that moment on, the two departments, the general councils, and even the villages, everyone welcomed them with open arms, because there was the financial support with it.Then they acquired 100 ha, where the current lab is located.” (source in french)
The house is a place for counter-information on Cigéo and for organising the struggle.
about ten other collectives places
On 22 February 2018 at 6am, the Bois Lejuc was evicted again. On the same day the house of the Resistance is attacked by the cops. In July 2019, a 3-day reoccupation was quickly evicted. Since then, access to the wood is forbidden and monitored by cameras and cops patrols.
THE GIP’S FUNDING
Chronology of the struggles
In August 2013, the Petit festival contre la grande poubelle nucléaire (Little festival against the big nuclear waste bin) as well as a Grand Est Assembly were formed. The objective of the latter is to strengthen the local mobilization but also to widen it in France and in neighbouring countries because Bure is not a Meuse or Haute-Marne problem: it concerns us all in the four corners of the country, in Europe and beyond! A call for decentralised actions is launched in 2014: “Bure 365: 1 year of actions against Cigéo, nuclear power and its world”.
The struggle also travels out of Bure to do an infotour everywhere, notably in Montabot and Notre-Dame-des-Landes. After several festivals next to Bure, the antinuks invited themselves to Nancy on 5 and 6 September 2014 to say Nukoff! to Cigéo in the framework of a participatory and self-managed gathering. In July 2015, the municipal council of Mandres-en-Barrois voted in favour of the exchange of the communal forest (Bois Lejuc) with the Bois de la Caisse, owned by Andra, despite a previous consultation of the inhabitants with a majority negative result. A third of the villagers signed a petition against this deliberation, an appeal was lodged (following a complaint for conflict of interest and undeclared secret ballot, the exchange of Bois Lejuc was voted in favour again in May 2017). This decision allows the project to move from the laboratory stage to the acquisition of favourable land, even though Cigéo is not yet declared by the DAC (application for authorisation to create). This triggers an intensification of the struggle on the ground. The following month, an international anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist camp (VMC) gathered 1,500 people at La Gare of Luméville.
- Nukoff! 2014 (automedia, 10 min, in french)
- records of the struggle at that time : https://nocigeo.noblogs.org ; https://vmc.bureburebure.info
4) 2016-2017 : occupation of the Bois Lejus and agricultural resistance
In the summer of 2016, Andra is about to undertake clearing work in the Bois Lejuc and this without a prior permit. The “endless picnic” of 19 June 2016 marks the beginning of the first occupation. On this occasion, Andra’s fences were knocked down. After 3 weeks of occupation, the forest is evicted on 7 July 2016 at 6am. To prevent access to Bois Lejuc, Andra erects a concrete enclosure wall, still without authorizations. After Andra was condemned for these illegal works, a demonstration started on 15 August 2016 with the aim of tearing down this wall. In the weeks that followed, the forest was occupied again until February 2018.
Various agricultural initiatives were undertaken during those years, in particular via the Terres de Bure collective: such as potato seedlings planted in fields left fallow by Andra in 2015; the hectare of cereals planted under the laboratory’s windows in November 2015; or the 500 m2 of potatoes planted in April 2016 on land belonging to Andra; and so many other projects to this day..
5) 2017-2019 : repression intensifies on opponents
While individual comrades were indeed under surveillance, put on file, fined, banned, etc., there was no massive police operation at the scale of the movement. In June 2017, the week of action was marked by a lightning ransacking of Andra’s hotel-restaurant and provided an opportunity to disguise the nuclear resistance as a “criminal association” intent on committing “arson”, if not murder. The militarisation of the territory intensified in the weeks that followed. On 4 July, a national investigation unit was set up to investigate criminal acts committed by opponents of the Cigéo project: the
A new stage in terms of repression was then reached during the demonstration of 15 August 2017. The message was clear: immediate and uncompromising repression. This day of mobilisation ended with many people injured, one of whom nearly lost his foot in the explosion of a GLI-F4 grenade. Then came 20 September 2017 and its five simultaneous raids. From that time on, many people all over Europe expressed their solidarity with the opponents in Bure and created support committees. On 22 February 2018 at 6am, one month after the announcement of the abandonment of the Notre-Dame des Landes airport and following the famous speech “There will be no more ZADs in France”, nearly 500 cops proceeded with the eviction of the inhabitants of Bois Lejuc and the destruction of all the huts.
They also brutally broke into the Maison de Résistance, arresting all the occupants one by one. As a result of these police operations, three people were detained and sentenced to several months in prison. Between February and June 2018, road and pedestrian checks in the area became incessant, often leading to identity checks, police custody, and sometimes trials. On 20 June, shortly after the demonstration of 16 June 2018 in Bar-le-Duc, Bure woke up with nearly 200 cops deployed, the arrest of 8 people, as well as the search of 11 places where people lived and organised the struggle. These arrests led to the first interrogations of the defendants for “criminal conspiracy”, whose trial took place in Bar-le-Duc on 1, 2 and 3 June 2021 (the verdict will be delivered on 21 September). The repressive climate on the ground with the permanent presence of the cops, the controls and the trials, as well as the “criminal conspiracy” were intended to kill the fight against Cigéo. In spite of this, many people continued to live in the area and the organisation of local events was maintained. Various sabotages, in particular of the drilling for Cigéo, followed one another and Bois Lejuc was reoccupied a third time for a few days (July 2019).
After the difficulties experienced (repression, trauma,…) in 2018-2019 and while controls and repression were dwindling (still despite regular patrols of gendarmes in the various villages in the vicinity – but without systematic control), new events and demonstrations in and around Bure continued to swarm energies and links. For 2019, these include the second Bure’lesques festival (which will again take place near Bure on 6, 7 and 8 August 2021), the Vent de Bure discussions and demonstration in Nancy, the Bombes Atomiques , the week of construction at the Maison de Résistance; for 2020, the anti-nuclear and feminist week and the Bombes Atomques demonstration, the anti-prison week at La Gare, the anti-nuclear week in the autumn and the “We’re all criminals” Despite all the constraints of the situation, the various confinements have also strengthened the knowledge and bonds between opponents, spending time at the Maison de Resistance and other collective spaces. And soon, the Rayonnantes!
7) Les enjeux d’aujourd’hui : 2021 et le risque de l’accélération des travaux
While Andra has not yet obtained its Declaration for Public Utility (DUP) or the Application for Authorisation to Create (DAC), the ApplicationCigéo project is making small steps forward and preparing the ground through a number of works: such as the cleaning and clearing of the land that will host the future railway; the acquisition of land through the Safer to convert the site into a freight terminal for Cigéo; or finally the underground measurements through the work of surveyors or through green drilling boBande dessinéexes (which have by the way, as mentioned earlier, been the object of several sabotages in recent years. ..)
Again, in 2020,the Declaration of Public Utility (DUP) of the Cigéo project initiates an upcoming acceleration of the work. However, this procedure does not authorise the construction of the storage centre itself: this will be the subject of the application for authorisation to creation (DAC) of the nuclear facility, which should be submitted by 2022 (a date to be taken with a grain of salt, as this deadline is regularly postponed by Andra, which has great difficulty in demonstrating the safety of its project). Thanks to the DUP, Andra will be able to start the first works on Cigéo, known as “pre-planned developments”, i.e. the exproriation of land and housing coveted by Andra; the deforestation, exposure and artificialisation of agricultural and forest land such as Bois Lejuc; the construction of an electricity transformer; the restoration of dozens of kilometres of railway tracks to transport radioactive waste; the diversion of departmental roads; the consumption of a very large quantity of water for the work, requiring the pumping of water from springs 20 km away; the incessant traffic of numerous heavy goods vehicles and construction equipment, etc.
Far from fatalism and resignation, let us not forget that Cigéo is not yet launched. It has already suffered many delays and the files presented to us are still flawed. Let us not forget that the history of this project is based on strong opposition from the outset and that Andra has been chased out of many departments (Ain, Aisne, Maine-et-Loire, Deux-Sèvres…). Let us not forget the deaths of two Andra workers in 2002 and 2016 following the digging of galleries at the Bure/Saudron laboratory. The causes of the 2016 deaths have still not been clarified. Let us not forget the opinion of the Environmental Authority in January 2021, which is highly critical of the waste storage project.
Who will be the next to be sacrificed?
The Cigéo project is destructive and deadly. Whether the DUP is validated or not, we continue to be determined to oppose this project. It is important to fight against this DUP, as well as against the expropriations and deforestations that will follow.
Sources of articles :
– brochure riverain·es voie ferrée (in french)
- Bureburebure.info and friends websites (in french)
- BrochURE 2020 (in french)
- Mais vous, vous proposez quoi ? (in french)
- 12 points of RadiAction against nuclear
- La terre est à nous – Testimonies of farmers in struggle at Bure (2016) (in french)
- État des lieux du foncier – State of play of the land (in french)
- Des convois radioactifs à nos portes ? – Small information guide on the impact of nuclear waste burial at Bure/Saudron (in french)
- About the trainstopping exhibition at La Gare
- Poubelle la vie (2015, automedia, 57 min) (subtitled in english)
- Bure ou les ruines toxiques de la modernité – Bure or the toxic ruins of modernity (2016, 23 minutes) (subtitled in english)
- Bure été 2016-2017 – Bure summer 2016/2017 (2017, 24 minutes) (subtitled in english)
- Audio listening of Radio Parleur – Presentation of local context (24min, nov. 2019) (in french)
Comic and books
- The comik book “100 000 ans”, Ed. Marabulle, 2020, (in french)
- “Le nucléaire c’est fini”, La parisienne libérée, 2019, (in french)