Conventional industrial waste

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Conventional industrial waste

Conventional industrial waste includes all non-radioactive waste produced and discharged by all EDF’s generation facilities (thermal, hydro and nuclear) and research sites.

Fly ash and gypsum, which are fully recycled, are considered by-products and are therefore not included in the indicator “Conventional industrial waste”.

Specific laws and regulations apply to radioactive waste.

Waste recycling

The indicator “Conventional industrial waste” includes two types of waste:

  • hazardous waste, defined as such by regulations if it has one of more of the following characteristics: explosive/oxidising/ignitable, irritable/ harmful/toxic, carcinogenic, corrosive, infectious, reprotoxic/ mutagenic, ecotoxic;
  • non-hazardous waste, which refers to inert waste and nonhazardous industrial waste (with collection and treatment processes similar to household waste).

Waste is recycled in two different ways:

  • materials recovery: scrap iron and other metals, gravel and other aggregates;
  • energy recovery: incineration of waste to produce energy (electricity or steam).
EDF Group Unit 2016 2015 2014
Volume of conventional industrial waste recycled or transported for recycling t 607.171 365.744 392.815

The volume of conventional waste increased significantly in 2016 due primarily to non-hazardous waste produced by major projects under way in France (up 230,000 t): rubble from the installation of last-resort diesel generators at nuclear power plants as stipulated in the post- Fukushima action plan (up 100,000 t); works for the installation of a new hydroelectric generator at La Coche hydropower plant (up 54,000 t); works to extend a storage building at Velaines (up 39,000 t) and continuation of thermal power plant decommissioning works, including those at Albi, Champagne and Aramon.

Recycling rate for conventional industrial waste

Unit 2016 2015 2014
EDF Group % 89.9 80.6 79.9
EDF % 95.3 92 92.6
EDF Energy % 99.1 94.5 98.5

EDF’s sustainable development policy maintained the target for recycling all recyclable waste at 90% for 2016. The recycling rate for all conventional waste (excluding fly ash and gypsum, which are fully recycled) remained high. The recycling rate for all conventional waste resulting from electricity generation and engineering activities (excluding fly ash and gypsum, which are fully recycled) rose from 92.0% in 2015 to 95.3% in 2016. This increase was due mainly to a higher volume of non-hazardous waste.

Impact of construction, decommissioning and maintenance activities

In 2016, construction, decommissioning and maintenance activities remained strong, particularly in France (including the island energy systems) and the United Kingdom, impacting the total volume of waste generated and recycled. The projects included the first Grand Carénage programmes in the French nuclear sector, decommissioning (Champagne, Monsin, etc.) and major maintenance operations (Cordemais, Revin, La Coche, Dampierre cooling systems).

In France, waste management organisation plans are systematically drawn up before each major construction, decommissioning or maintenance site, and a “lessons learnt” phase is coordinated annually by EDF’s business divisions with a view to continuously improving practices.

Moreover, EDF’s sustainable development policy includes a recycling target for green list waste (internal list of waste that can be recycled using the meshed network of facilities throughout France). In 2016, EDF’s green list covered 152 categories of waste, with a total of 268 types of waste classified in the internal reference framework. Despite the lower number of categories, green list waste accounted for 92% of total conventional waste transported for recycling.

EDF Unit 2016 2015 2014
Recycling rate for green list waste % 98.7 96.6 97.3