IAEA Positively Concluded An ARTEMIS Mission to Belgium

In mid-December, an Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation (ARTEMIS) review team concluded a ten-day mission to Belgium. The review was carried out at the request of the country and hosted by ONDRAF/NIRAS, the Belgian National Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Material Management.

The International Atomic Energy Agency team, made of seven international experts and three IAEA staff members, met with officials from the ONDRAF/NIRAS, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC), SCK CEN (ENS Corporate Member), the Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER), Synatom – the organization in charge of the management of the fuel cycle of Belgian nuclear power plants – and the Commission for Nuclear Provisions (CNP).

ARTEMIS reviews provide independent expert assessments, which can cover all aspects and topics related to managing radioactive waste and spent fuel, decommissioning and remediation. Reviews are based on the IAEA Safety Standards, technical guidance, and international good practices.

The ARTEMIS review team said that Belgium has established a robust national infrastructure for the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel and the implementation of decommissioning and remediation activities over the last decades.

Among the good practices, the team identified the Belgian approach towards centralised management of all radioactive waste by Belgoprocess, and towards remediation of the former radium and uranium production site, both leading to waste minimisation.

Belgium’s radioactive waste is produced by different sources. High-level waste comes from the five nuclear reactors in operation today in the Doel and Tihange sites, which provided roughly 47% of the country’s electricity in 2022. Waste is also managed from the additional two reactors which have been permanently shut down. Low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste is generated from the production and use of radiation sources in medical and industrial applications, as well as in science and research activities. Waste is also generated from the decommissioning of research reactors such as BR2 and BR3 and the decommissioning of industrial facilities that covered almost all activities in the nuclear fuel cycle.

The mission concluded with the ARTEMIS team providing recommendations and suggestions for consideration and implementation by relevant stakeholders.

Read the full IAEA Press Release.