''As important as observing national regulations,'' says DDG Carlos Alejaldre, ''is our commitment to the local public.''
A crucial milestone in the licensing process of ITER was reached last Monday 23 March as we received the Advisory Opinion of the French Environmental Authority on our Demande d'autorisation de Création—better known within ITER as "the DAC files."
The seven-volume, 5,243-page DAC files constitute a fundamental legal document providing an in-depth description of the ITER installation, the Preliminary Safety Report (RPrS), a detailed Impact Study and other required licensing files.
A lot of hard work throughout the Organization went into the Impact Study which was updated last December and sent to the French government.
Experts from the Autorité environnementale, a specialized agency of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustained Development, Transport and Housing, have since analyzed the Impact Study and the non-technical summaries.
The Autorité formulated an Advisory Opinion ("Avis") in the form of a 19-page document that we received last Wednesday.
The "Avis" includes several recommendations. The experts, for instance, asked us to rewrite some parts of the non-technical summaries in order to make them more accessible to the general public; they also requested a more detailed description of some of the impacts of the installation.
We will of course observe these recommendations and modify our text accordingly.
We have committed ourselves to producing the final document by the end of April. This means a lot of hard work for many of us; it also means that the Enquête Publique could begin before the summer, which is a major milestone for the project.
The updated DAC files will be the basis upon which the local public will formulate its opinion on our project.
Throughout this whole process, we have observed the regulations of our Host country and, more specifically, the 2006 Law on Nuclear Transparency and Security.
As important as observing national regulations, however, is our commitment to the local public. It is our deep conviction that our neighbours are entitled to thorough and detailed information on our project and its impact on our shared environment.