OPE objectives

The Permanent Environment Observatory was established in 2007 to precisely describe the environment found at the future site of the Industrial Centre for Geological Storage (Cigeo) and follow the long-term changes. Owing to the specific features of this observatory, ANDRA wanted to seize the opportunity to expand the missions linked to the OPE so that it could also meet the wider scientific challenges of long-term environment monitoring.

Monitoring the environment around the Cigeo facilities

As part of its project to construct a deep geological storage centre for radioactive waste, ANDRA must put in place a coherent set of means for environmental observation, experimentation and preservation. The OPE must therefore:

  • establish an environmental baseline of the storage site over 10 years, physical and chemical as well as biological and radiological;
  • preserve the memory of this environment;
  • prepare an environmental monitoring plan for the future storage centre;
  • help understand interaction between the different habitats and monitor the changes that take place in order to accurately gauge the impact of storage;
  • define the origins of any observed disruption.

For this, the OPE has implemented a multidisciplinary observation programme (water, air, flora, fauna and humans) over a period of at least 100 years.

Contributing to national and international research

Beyond our industrial objectives of conducting an impact study of the Cigeo site and an environmental monitoring plan, implementing possible compensation arrangements and controlling potential sources of pollutants, ANDRA wanted to make its observation tools available to the scientific community.

ANDRA's wish is to create a real centre for research, in order to develop programmes that respond to current environmental questions: the long-term changes caused by global climate change, modifications to agricultural and forestry practices, local industrial facilities, and land development of the areas where an industrial project of this scale is planned.

These observations and associated research programmes will be used to better understand the dynamics of environmental components with a view to assess the role of different spatio-temporal scales, and therefore to define observation and sampling strategies in a relevant way. This will also reveal how sensitive different habitats are, as well as criteria that can be used to establish priorities in the observation and preservation system.

These studies will also be used to model, predict and distinguish various impacts, and to develop new monitoring tools that will target even more relevant indicators for measuring environmental quality. This work requires a scientific approach, carried out in partnership with French and international scientific research bodies.

Schema describing the impact of three main anthropogenic pressures on the environment

This diagram shows the main human pressures on the environment (atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere). The OPE's scientific objective is to observe their impact on the environment over the course of 100 years. A multidisciplinary and integrated approach is used to achieve this.

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