Nonproliferation
Resource
Fact Sheet

Spent Nuclear Fuel in Belgium

Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel in Belgium

  • June 1, 2020
  • 4:18 pm

Highlights

3,633.2 tHM spent nuclear fuel in storage (2016)
4625 tHM spent nuclear fuel projected by 2050
1975 First year of commercial nuclear operation
7 operating nuclear power reactors
3 operating research and test reactors
5.91 GW(e) installed nuclear capacity (2016)
39% nuclear share of domestic energy production (2018)

Regulator: Federal Agency for Nuclear Control
Power Operator: Electrabel/EDF Luminus

Nuclear Power stations in Belgium (as of 2019)

Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel

Practices

  • NPP SNF is stored wet for 3-5 years then moved to either Tihange wet storage or Doel dry storage
  • For research reactors, the BR2’s fuel is to be reprocessed; the BR3’s is to be stored dry before disposal; and the Thetis reactor’s fuel is to be managed as radioactive waste
  • From 1966 to 1974 Belgium reprocessed 181.5 metric tons natural and LEU at the Eurochemic plant and 1980 to 2001 approximately 600 metric tons spent fuel were reprocessed in France’s La Hague under contracts between Belgian electrical company subsidiary Synatom and France’s AREVA; a 5-year reprocessing moratorium from 1993-1998 has since restricted Synatom’s reprocessing.
  • The National Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Material (ONDRAF/NIRAS) leads research into final disposal of spent fuel and DGRs at the HADES URL; Synatom committed €130 million to this research on December 25, 2016.

Obligations

  • Belgium has a safeguards agreement with the IAEA through Euratom (INFCIRC/193, 1977) and an additional protocol (2004)
  • Belgium signed the Joint Convention in 1997 and ratified it in 2002
  • The National Programme for the Management of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste outlines the practices for spent fuel management
  • The policy envisions eventual reprocessing or disposal after storage at power plants; in June 2020 the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control indicated its support for a high-level waste geological disposal project.
  • A committee is comprised of representatives from the Federal Public Service responsible for Energy, the Belgian Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials (ONDRAF/NIRAS) and Synatom, is the owner of spent fuel.
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