September 2, 2021
From Bure Bure Bure

On Saturday,the 21 of August, four groups [photos here and here] made a separate journey to meet in front of Andra’s warehouse, in Gondrecourt-le-ChĂąteau. This building was attacked from several sides, its gates fell down and everyone had an opportunity to express in his own creative way what the presence of the agency and its project CigĂ©o in this region evokes to them.

The following text was read or distributed as a leaflet in the various groups. It explains the history of this warehouse and why we targeted it.

Little story of the warehouse, why we are there

The warehouse, as it’s called, is actually an old furniture factory. Meuse Omni Style was, in the mid-1990s, a flourishing company, based here in Gondrecourt-le-Chñteau. It was the largest employer in the township with more than 1,000 people working on site.

Then the sawmills started to close and with them almost all the carpentry shops that existed in the area. These small businesses were no longer competitive in a globalized market and gradually sunk. Meuse Omni Style made several redundancy plans in the early 2000s before being bought by an industrial group which led to the compulsory liquidation in 2011. Hundreds of people lost their jobs with no hope of finding one locally.

Since 2013, ANDRA has jumped on this unexpected property describing it as an «industrial wasteland, unhealthy and abandoned». ANDRA bought it for nothing, explaining that it lacked space on its site at the Bure-Saudron laboratory to store machines and «carrots», samples from geological drilling. then they applied for and obtained demolition permits for most of the buildings, keeping only two or three buildings and a small water castle.

As you can imagine, the Andra did not want this factory to store its machines. Andra calls this place its future «MULTIMODAL PLATFORM». It is indeed a capital outlet for it because it is located on the edge of the old railway line that it intends to put back into operation to transport the materials of the titanic work of Cigéo and, ultimately, the radioactive waste that would be buried there. Precisely, the old factory is at the end of the section of the railway that will be renovated by the SNCF and at the beginning of the private road that will belong only to the ANDRA and that will go for about fifteen kilometers, from Gondrecourt to Bure, including the former Luméville-en-Ornois train station, where the Camp des Rayonnantes is taking place these days.

For the moment, the ANDRA stores here only a few machines and the old walls with which the agency believed, they could prevent access to Lejuc forest in 2016. Soon, if its plan is successful, if the Cigéo project is recognized as a public need, if it then obtains its authorization, there will be a railway platform here. A few hundred meters from the houses, will pass, every day and for at least a century, trains carrying materials and rubble, then convoys of highly radioactive waste.

For us, it is a symbolic and strategic fact to be here today. This place bears the memory of a past history – industrial and social, the memory of the knowledge of workers and craftsmen, the memory of the wood industry that kept many people alive when intensive agriculture was getting the countryside empty– and this place is also the hallmark of a deadly project that perfectly fits with the desertification of this region.

Here, we can see the Meuse (region) of Andra’s dreams: a depopulated territory, a «platform» in concrete where trains will circulate under the control of Geiger meters to a gallery where robots will move the contaminated barrels. And all this under the eye of the cops, who are never far away when it comes to nuclear power: two hundred meters from here, a police station is being built. It will be accompanied by ten pavilions to house the cops and their families. Above all, it will allow them to keep a constant eye on the future construction site of the railway and those who are opposed to it.

Twenty years ago, some opponents were putting down the fences of the first platforms of the Andra, in Bure. Today, the lab became a fortress. There is no doubt that the same will happen to where we are today, to Lejuc forest, and to all the land that this project will swallow up. It is right now that we must act, while we still have a shot!