Belgium stores long- and short-lived radioactive wastes in specially
designed facilities across the country. Belgium’s National Agency
for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials (ONDRAF/NIRAS),
is looking at potential geologic storage sites for low-level and
short-lived radioactive waste in more than 50 municipalities.
Spent nuclear fuel is stored in reactor pools. High-level wastes
are stored for 50 years at the country’s central interim storage
site at the Mol-Dessel nuclear power plant and research center north
Spent nuclear fuel from Belgium’s reactors was sent to France until
1998, when the country decided to stop reprocessing. Vitrified (solidified)
high-level wastes from spent nuclear fuel reprocessing are returned
to Belgium, and will eventually be put into a deep geologic repository.
Belgium has over 20 years’ experience with spent nuclear fuel transport,
both domestically and abroad, by truck, rail, and ship.
After studying long-term waste management options, Belgium's government
elected deep geologic disposal in 1998, deciding that deep clay
and shale were the most appropriate formations for long-lived and
high-level waste. A clay site for high-level vitrified (solidified)
waste disposal is also being studied near Belgium's Doel nuclear
Belgium takes a multi-barrier approach to repository design. Storage
casks will be made of steel over-laid with stainless steel. Current
plans call for the repository to open between 2035 and 2080.