Construction cost for the first phase of Cigeo
The first phase of Cigeo covers the construction of the facilities required to commission and start operating the repository. The estimated cost will gradually be refined for use in defining the target cost for completion of the first investment phase.
Assessment of costs up to repository closure
The Government has asked Andra to start work immediately on estimating repository costs over more than 100 years. This covers design studies, construction (civil engineering, equipment, etc.), operation (personnel, maintenance, electricity, etc.), taxes and duties, insurance, site contingencies, etc.
Risks and optimisation opportunities must also be assessed. The assessment must be updated at regular intervals to take into account progress in Andra's research work.
The Government-Andra-waste producers working group for 2004-2005 estimated the cost of constructing, operating and closing the repository at between €13.5 and €16.5 billion, spread over more than 100 years. In particular, this assessment covered disposal costs for all high-level (HLW) and intermediate-level long-lived waste (ILW-LL) from French nuclear reactors over a period of 40 years. Between these two figures, waste producers opted for a reference cost of €14.1 billion (January 2003 economic conditions), which reflects a prudent approach to risks and opportunities. Given inflation, the estimated cost rises to some €16.5 billion under 2012 economic conditions. This is the figure used by waste producers to calculate future costs and provisions for the disposal of HLW and ILW-LL.
As the amount set aside is intended to be spent over a long period - a hundred years or so - a discounting method must be adopted to express future costs in terms of their current value. The amount is invested in dedicated funds that are secured to ensure that the return on investment covers expenditure as and when required. Under the Act of 28 June 2006, waste producers must submit to the administrative authority a three-yearly report on long-term cost assessment, the methods used to calculate the provisions for these costs and choices made as to the composition and management of assets to cover these provisions. Cost estimates must also take into account the quantity of waste the repository is expected to contain. The growth in HLW and ILW-LL inventory induced by plans to extend the use of EDF nuclear reactors beyond their current 40-year operating lifetime is also liable to increase repository costs.
As part of the working group set up by the Government in 2008, Andra carried out a cost estimate based on repository design and safety options put forward at that time. It was agreed with the Government and waste producers to study a number of technical options for optimising the repository. One such option was to build longer HLW disposal cells to reduce their number.
The feasibility and safety of each of these options must be verified, if necessary by testing in the underground laboratory. Various optimisation options are still under study by Andra or, in the case of waste package shipment schedules, in collaboration with waste producers. Changes in the cost of raw materials and in the waste inventory must also be considered. Furthermore, Andra carries out a considerable amount of work on calculation tools and methods to provide the most reliable assessment of repository costs and to incorporate all the operating experience feedback available on existing nuclear facilities and other large-scale industrial facilities or underground structures. It is also takes part in international discussions on this topic.
The Cour des Comptes examined the issues relating to the above points in its public thematic report entitled The Costs of the Nuclear Power Sector (January 2012).
Andra will complete a new assessment in 2013 to take into account studies carried out since 2009, as well as recommendations made by the project review team, the Nuclear Safety Authority and the National Assessment Board relating to the outline studies conducted by Andra in 2012 with its prime contractor, the Gaiya group (Technip/Ingérop). Optimisation options, which will have undergone further analysis by the time the licence application is filed, will also be considered.