Belgium’s Belgoprocess, which is responsible for the management of radioactive waste, on 19 October received a permit from the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) allowing expansion of its site in Dessel with a new storage building. The company submitted a permit application to Fanc at the end of October 2019.
The permit extends the existing operating permit for Belgoprocess site 1. A new building will now be built for the storage of alkali-silica reaction (ASR)-affected conditioned radioactive waste.
At the beginning of 2013, during a routine check in a storage building, a gel-shaped outlet was found on a number of waste barrels. After investigation, the gel formation appeared to be the result of a chemical alkali-silica reaction and not a radiological reaction. The degraded drums with the highest risk of gel spill will now be transferred from the existing storage buildings to the new building, where they will be monitored further, said Belgoprocess.
The residents of the surrounding municipalities (Dessel, Geel, Kasterlee, Mol and Retie) were consulted as part of the permit application through a public inquiry. The results were submitted to Fanc, which then submitted all advice and objections to the Scientific Council for Ionising Radiation for advice. The Council issued a positive decision on 11 September. Finally, the complete file was submitted to the King for decision. The permit was published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 16 October.