The Bugey nuclear power station in France is under attack by the canton and city of Geneva. At around 75 km from Geneva, as the crow flies, its condition continues to deteriorate according to the French lawyer representing Geneva. The lawyer, Corinne Lepage, a former French minister for the environment, said the plant is suffering from “Increasing deterioration and defective maintenance of its equipment” and is located in an area of “High urban density, close to five industrial sites, in a flood and seismic zone, and presents a major risk of accident.”
The Bugey nuclear power plant is located in Saint-Vulbas (Ain) on the edge of the Rhône river, from where it gets its cooling water. It is about 30 km upstream from Lyon. The site houses four pressurised water reactors. A fifth reactor is currently being dismantled. This unit was the first, and was switched on in 1972.
Geneva’s case, being presented to the courts in Paris, claims that the plant’s continued operation deliberately risks innocent lives and water pollution.
France recently announced new investments to extend the plant’s operating life. “It’s nonsense, we are talking about people dying!” said Rémy Pagani, an administrative councillor for Geneva. “It’s also a waste of money to upgrade these old French nuclear pots.”
Other administrative procedures, brought against the Bugey plant, in France are in progress. “Judicial action against the construction of a storage facility for radioactive waste has however been rejected by the French courts.” explained the city and the canton.
The recent case launched on 2 March 2016 “won’t be fast”, warned Corinne Lepage.
Electricité de France (EDF), the plant’s operator, declined to comment on a legal case that was ongoing. The company did however point out that the plant had been inspected 39 times last year and 160 million euros had been spent on it to ensure its safety. “Safety continues to be our number one priority and the Bugey plant is among the average for French nuclear installations.” The monitoring authority considers the Ain plant to be “satisfactory overall” from a safety perspective.