Download: Nuclear energy, uranium mines in France

French inventory of uranium mining sites 2 version, September 2007.

Produced within the framework of the Memory and Impact of UrAniUm Mines program: Synthesis and Archives

The development of the uranium industry dates back to the aftermath of the Second World War, with the creation on October 18, 1945, of the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). This industry saw its peak in the 80s and gradually died out at the end of the last century.

Thus, the exploration, exploitation and processing of uranium ores as well as the storage of treatment residues in France concerned nearly 210 sites spread over 25 departments.

Given the number of sites, their geographical dispersion and the diversity of situations encountered, it is in practice difficult to draw up a complete overview of uranium mining activities in France in order to assess their environmental impact.

Wishing to have a complete source of information on the administrative situation and the possible radiological monitoring devices around the sites concerned by the uranium mining activities, the Directorate of Pollution Prevention and Risk Management (DPPR) of the Ministry of Ecology, Development and Sustainable Development (MEDAD) asked the IRSN to set up a program on the subject.

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Named MIMAUSA - Mémoire et Impact des Mines d'urAniUm: Synthesis et Archives - the program was launched in 2003 and is carried out in close collaboration with AREVA NC. Its steering committee brings together: the DPPR (Pollution and Risk Prevention Department) and the DARQSI (Regional Action, Quality and Industrial Safety Department) from MEDAD, ASN, IRSN and AREVA NC, the DRIRE Auvergne and Limousin as well as the BRGM (see composition of the steering committee at the end of the report).

The MIMAUSA program allows:

- to compile and summarize the data available in order to allow IRSN, national and local public authorities, but also the public to have a source of quality information on the history of mining sites French uranium and any radiological monitoring devices currently in place;

- ensure the sustainability of knowledge of these sites despite the cessation of the activities concerned;

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- to constitute a working tool for the State services in charge of defining redevelopment and surveillance programs;

- and to improve the representativeness of the national network for monitoring radioactivity in the environment, in particular with regard to the measurement stations operated by IRSN.

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