PARIS, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- An operation involving hundreds of French gendarmes on Thursday ended the occupation of an underground nuclear waste site in Bure, northeast France, by protestors, the country's Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said.
"Under the authority of the prefect of the Meuse, an operation led by the national gendarmerie began this morning at 6:15 (local time, 0515 GMT) to end the illegal occupation of Bois-Lejuc site of Cigeo project of national interest," Collomb wrote on his tweeter account.
"We acted to enforce a court decision," he added.
During a dawn operation, about 500 gendarmes were deployed to evacuate opponents who had occupied the site where the government planned to store radioactive waste.
One person was arrested after throwing at security forces an incendiary device, according to local authorities
But "the operation went off quietly," said Murielle Nguyen, Meuse prefect and Olivier Glady Bar-le-Duc prosecutor at a joint press meeting.
Managed by the National Agency for the Management of Radioactive Waste (Andra), the Bois-Lejuc site is designed to hold waste 500 metres underground in an impermeable argillaceous rock formation able to contain radioactivity over a very long periods.
The agency has to conduct exploratory drilling in the forest in order to collect data to see whether the most toxic nuclear waste could be contained safely underground and then submit the creation authorization application (DAC), scheduled for 2019.
But drilling has so far been suspended because of the opponents' occupation of the site.
A Nuclear Regulatory Authorits report released in January estimated the site, expected to be operational between 2026-2027, could not store certain planned waste due to fire risk.