Photo credit: SCK CENBelgian research centre SCK CEN said that it has obtained all necessary permits to expand an existing nuclear facility on its site in order to carry out the RECUMO project to treat residues from radioisotopes. 

The RECUMO forms a continuation of the long-standing partnership between SCK CEN and its sister company, the National Institute for Radio Elements (IRE). SCK CEN will convert the radioactive residues that remain following the production process of medical radioisotopes into low enriched uranium and purify them. The high-quality material that is recovered can be reused as fuel for research reactors or as targets for radioisotope production. As such, RECUMO guarantees the security of supply of medical radioisotopes, SCK CEN said.

Two authorities have now officially approved this project. The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) has granted the establishment and operating permit, while the Flemish Region has issued the environmental permit. A public enquiry was conducted prior to this decision.

“I am pleased that all competent authorities have granted us the necessary permits,” said SCK CEN Director-General Eric van Walle. “Thanks to the RECUMO project, Belgium will be anchoring its extensive nuclear knowledge and strengthening its leading position in the production of medical radioisotopes.”

With the permits in place, SCK CEN can start construction.

“According to the schedule, we will start the works on our site this autumn. The completion of the facility is planned for 2025,” van Walle said. Shortly after that, the nuclear research centre will commission the facility and start purifying the residues. These residues come from the IRE in Fleurus. According to the current plan, the facility will be processing the residues until 2038.

Photo credit: SCK CEN