Covra plans new waste storage building

16 August 2022

The Netherlands’ Central Organisation for Radioactive Waste (Covra) has said it plans to realise a new Multifunctional Storage Building (MOG). The MOG is specifically designed for the storage of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste in stackable storage containers. All documents required for the licence change were submitted to the Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS) at the beginning of August.

In order to be able to build the MOG, Covra's permit under the Nuclear Energy Act must be changed. A supplement to the safety report and an environmental impact assessment (EIA) are part of the new licence application. The EIA ensures that the environmental interests are fully taken into account in the decision-making process about the permit.

If the ANVS assesses the permit application as satisfactory, a draft permit will be issued. The assessment process takes several months. When the draft permit is ready, it will be published online at the ANVS. Public comments will be collected for six weeks, after which. ANVS will carefully study all responses.

The next step for Covra is to apply for a building permit from the municipality of Borsele. Once the necessary permits have been obtained, the contract for the construction of the MOG can be put to the market and then awarded. Completion of the new storage building is expected in 2025.

Covra expects to receive structurally different waste that was not assumed in the design of the existing buildings. With the MOG, Covra will have suitable storage capacity in the future for radioactive waste that will be produced in the coming years. The new building must offer sufficient storage capacity until 2050.

The MOG will contain low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste. The new storage building is intended for historical waste still stored on the site of medical isotope producer NRG in Petten and for future decommissioning waste. During dismantling, large heavy components are often released. The current processing and storage at Covra is not yet suitable for this. A greater use of stackable storage containers is required for the storage of the expected different types of waste. This is not possible in the existing storage buildings. The MOG is primarily designed for the storage of radioactive waste in stackable storage containers. The building will also be made suitable for waste that Covra currently receives which may be possibly processed and packaged in a different way in the future with a view to disposal.

Image: A view of the current buildings on the Covra site and the location where the Multifunctional Storage Building will be constructed (courtesy of Covra)

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