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Orano-Malvesi: Europe as a weighty arbiter

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A collective of Narbonnais citizens has just been heard by the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament. He is asking for more transparency from Orano-Malvesi, the uranium purification site located near Narbonne.

The group of Europeans from Narbonnais, led by Kristina t’Felt, has filed a petition with Europe to ask for more transparency around the Orano-Malvési site, a site subject to the Seveso 2 directive and part of which is classified basic nuclear installation, and “enforcing our right to live in a healthy and healthy environment”. This approach led to the hearing of the representatives of the petitioners (Tara Lechartier, Viviane Thivent, André Bories and Kristina t’Felt), on Wednesday July 13, by the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament. “We have obtained the firm support of all the groups of MEPs in the parliament”, says Kristina t’Felt with satisfaction. Four years ago, demonstrations, in the wake of the “Butterfly Families”, were organized in Narbonne against the development of the Orano Malvési factory. “This is how residents from diverse backgrounds and lovers of the Aude discovered the existence of this plant which processes no less than a quarter of the world’s raw uranium. This figure implies a shared responsibility at the international scale. From there was born the idea of ​​addressing Europe.”

A first check carried out

The petition will therefore remain open and the file will continue to be followed by Europe. A check has already been launched by the commission to clarify the operation of the Orano-Malvési facilities. The conclusions will be transmitted in the fall. As it stands, the collective demands that: “Europe and France strengthen transparency in terms of informing citizens about the Orano Malvési plant; that the activities of the Orano Malvési site be subject to regular, strict, independent and officially published checks; that public health is subject to consistent scientific investigation. It is urgent to take stock of the health situation today and to have an appropriate tool for monitoring the health of the surrounding population.

On the side of Orano-Malvési, we confirm that following the petition, “the European Commission has carried out an inspection […]”. And to continue”After the in-depth examination of numerous documents, for 2 and a half days, 4 European inspectors from the radiation protection and nuclear safety unit of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Energy came to our location in Narbonne.

At the end of this inspection, no discrepancy was noted, as stated by the European Commission on the occasion of a public parliamentary committee of the European Parliament on July 13, responsible for studying all European petitions . The official report being drafted will be made public at the end of 2022″, details one at Orano-Malvési.

“Our doors are open”

And to specify: “Faced with the climate emergency, convinced that the planet needs all low-carbon energies, Orano wishes, more than ever, to promote and contribute to a calm debate around its activities. We invite citizens who express concerns about coming to meet us and visit our facilities, our doors are open to them. We share one and the same objective: that of preserving the planet, the climate and the territories!”

The concerns of local residents

During their presentation to the European Parliament, the representatives of the petitioners notably recalled their concerns about “the opacity which reigns around the site”.

“With this plant, trust has been broken several times. For example, it took a dike to give way in 2004 for the associations to discover in the Malvési sludge radioactive elements that should never have been there, as descendants of plutonium. It is moreover this discovery from the associations which explains the recent classification of the site as a basic nuclear installation”, they indicated. Or: “Associations and groups of local residents trained by CRIIRAD have taken measurements around the site over the years. And these independent measurements never confirm the reassuring follow-ups published by Orano’s communication department. This clearly shows the difficulties posed by a system in which it is the polluter who does the environmental monitoring himself.”

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