Potential third waste site for Belgium

3 November 2002

Belgium Belgian waste management agency Ondraf/ Niras has identified a third site technically feasible for hosting low- level radwaste. Local politicians will have the final say on whether the site at Fleurus-Farciennes should be further investigated. The other two potential sites, at Mol and Dessel, were discussed in NEI July 2002, p31, see story links below.

The technical study of the site resulted in a concept for "semi-buried" waste silos, to resist the possible collapse of mining structures under the proposed site, "which has a lot of former coal mines." The study identified an area of about 15 hectares as being the most favourable on hydrogeological considerations.

The communities of Fleurus and Farciennes have participated informally in the feasibility study by designating experts to assist. Local politicians must now decide whether to engage in a formal partnership for a further phase of study. The procedure allows communities to withdraw at any time and even to refuse to submit the finished proposal to the federal government.

The disposal concept features reinforced concrete monoliths in which four 400l steel waste drums would be placed with concrete filler. The 37,500 monoliths would be stacked within circular confinement silos of reinforced concrete about 50m in diameter, each holding 20 layers of monoliths. The base of the silo, about 27m underground, would also be of reinforced concrete. The concept includes several systems to drain rainwater, to separate contaminated from uncontaminated water.

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