Belgium Approves The Surface Radwaste Storage Facility In Dessel

The Royal Decree published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 16 May 2023 issued the necessary authorisation for the construction and operation of the surface disposal facility in Dessel (Belgium).

There the ONDRAF/NIRAS, the Belgian National Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Material, will safely and permanently store low- and intermediate-level, short-lived radwaste.

The future disposal facility in Dessel will then offer a definitive and safe solution for this type of waste, which loses most of its radioactivity in three hundred years and also has lower radiation activity than high-level waste, so that’s why it can be stored on the surface.

Construction works are expected to start in 2024.

Read the ONDRAF/NIRAS Press Release (in French or Dutch).

Not all radioactive waste can be stored in this way. There are different kinds of waste types, with different levels of radioactivity, which need to be differently treated, stored, and handled with the necessary security.

Indeed, on 22 November 2022, another Royal Decree marked the first regulatory act allowing the formal elaboration of a national policy for the safe and responsible long-term management of high-level radioactive waste in Belgium.

The act so ratified the decision in principle for deep storage on Belgian territory, as recommended by ONDRAF/NIRAS, and laid the foundations for setting, at a later stage and within a clear framework, the methods of implementation.