The FANC, the nuclear watchdog, has officially given permission for the construction of a new above-ground facility in Dessel. This facility will serve as a repository for low and intermediate level radioactive waste. Sigrid Eeckhout, spokeswoman for ONDRAF/NIRAS, the manager of nuclear waste, provides more information.
Listen to the full interview with Sigrid Eeckhout here.
In the news: Dessel will have a brand new facility to store nuclear waste.
- “We are talking about low- and medium-level short-lived waste here. This means that this waste can pose a danger to people and the environment for about 300 years. So we have to find a solution that is safe in the long term,” explains Sigrid Eeckhout, spokeswoman for ONDRAF/NIRAS, the National Institute for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials.
- “More than twenty years ago, we asked the Belgian municipalities who would like to enter into a dialogue with us to find a solution. The municipalities of Mol and Dessel, among others, have volunteered and we have started partnerships. Then in 2006 the government opted for surface disposal in the municipality of Dessel,” says Eeckhout.
The process: It took 17 years for the construction of the new installation to be fully approved.
- “Of course, a lot of steps have already been taken between 2006 and now. It is the first time that such an installation has been built in Belgium. We also had to go through a whole process with the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control to obtain the necessary permits, including an environmental permit,” says Eeckhout.
- “We already have the peripheral infrastructure ready for the access cluster, for example, where there is an administrative building and technical buildings for control. We have already built a factory to make the concrete boxes in which the waste will then be packed. We also made an installation in another factory where that waste will end up in those concrete boxes and be filled with mortar.”