Regulatory activities

Nuclear Power Plants

The current regulatory activities of Bel V for the 7 Belgian nuclear units (4 on Doel site, 3 on Tihange site) cover mainly the following operational aspects:

Site Inspections  
 

• Permanent inspections during operation by an authorized agency are required by the regulations. The goal of such inspections is to verify compliance with the license, as well as the licensee’s safety organization and culture.


• One Bel V inspector is dedicated to each unit, and one coordinator is responsible for guidance of the unit inspectors and coordination of the inspections at both sites: they belong to the NRI Department (Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Inspection), and are supported directly by the Bel V specialists, from the competent Technical Responsibility Centres.


• The permanent surveillance is performed by the unit inspectors through weekly systematic visits. In addition, thematic inspections are performed. These thematic inspections cover about 12 predefined areas (Fire protection, Emergency Planning…). Finally, specific inspections take place in case of particular events, incidents/accidents, modifications or licensing of control room personnel.

  Inspections may take place at any time, in any field of activity, with no access restriction.
Follow-up of Modifications  
 

• "important modifications" require a license delivered along the same procedural manner as the initial one (i.e. upon positive advice of the Scientific Council of the FANC);


• examples of "important modifications" are: rated power increase, replacement of steam generators, use of mixed oxide fuel (MOX), spent fuel storage extension,...


• so-called "non-important modifications" proposed by the licensee are assessed and checked by Bel V.

Periodic Safety Review  
 

The royal decree “Safety prescriptions for nuclear installations” of November 30, 2011 requires a systematic re-evaluation of the nuclear safety of an existing installation (or activity), at regular intervals, to fight against the cumulative effects of ageing, modifications, experience feedback, technical evolution and site-related aspects. This re-evaluation aims at ensuring high-level safety, during the entire life of the installation (or activity). The abovementioned royal decree adds the WENRA “reference levels” to the Belgian legislation, as well as the transposition of the European directive on safety (2009/71).

The decennial re-evaluations consist in a global evaluation of all important aspects related to the safety of the installation, by the licensee, with an aim of ensuring further operation and defining corrective measures to increase the safety level of the installation as much as possible.

To conduct these decennial re-evaluations, the FANC recommends the use of the safety factors, as defined in safety guidance SSG-25 of the IAEA.

Bel V evaluates the methodology documents, the evaluation reports of the safety factors and the dimensioning of the auxiliary installations, the global evaluation and the action plans as proposed by the licensee, and transfers its evaluation to the FANC.

 
Other installations

Legal inspections and safety assessments for Class-1 installations other than nuclear power plant:

• fuel cycle facilities : Belgonucléaire, Belgoprocess

• nuclear Research Center : SCK•CEN

• production and conditioning facility for radionuclides : IRE

• THETIS research reactor at the University of Ghent.

Legal inspections, for some class 2 and 3-installations:

• nuclear medicine centers (radiotherapy, diagnoses, ...)

• medical facilities (X-rays used by physicians, dentists, ...)

• irradiation facilities

• university laboratories

• particles accelerators (Cyclotrons)

• service center for nuclear power plants

Legal inspections = Periodic control of the Health Physics department and of the correct execution of its missions. The minimum periodicity of the control depends on the type of installation: permanent for Class 1, quarterly for Class 2, annually for Class 3.

SCK•CEN  

Nuclear Research Center created in 1952 and located on the Dessel-Mol nuclear site

Missions focus on nuclear science and technology, in particular nuclear safety, reactor experiments, radiation protection and radioactive waste management

Composed of different installations:

 
Reactors:  

• VENUS zero-power reactor


• BR1 graphite reactors


• BR2 materials testing reactor


• BR3 research PWR, in decommissioning phase


View of the BR2 reactor

Laboratories:  

• high and medium-level activities

• HADES underground facility for the study of geological waste disposal

• reactor safety oriented

• waste disposal oriented

Fuel cycle facilities installations
Belgonucléaire

Located on the Dessel-Mol nuclear site In operation since 1973 Specialized in the fabrication of MOX fuel for light water reactors. The MOX-production in Belgonuclaire stopped in 2007. The installations are now in dismantling phase.

Belgoprocess

Located on the Dessel-Mol nuclear site Wholly owned subsidiary of ONDRAF/NIRAS, the public agency in charge of radioactive waste management in Belgium In operation since 1984 with a present workforce of 300 persons. ONDRAF/NIRAS gave Belgoprocess the task of processing the radioactive waste produced in Belgium, which cannot be processed by the producers themselves The principal objective of Belgoprocess is to manage radioactive waste in such a way that the risks of harmful effects for people and the environment are kept to a minimum.

Activities can be divided in two areas:

the safe and efficient treatment, conditioning and temporary storage of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants, hospitals, laboratories,...

the dismantling of nuclear installations and buildings, in particular of Eurochemic, a reprocessing plant located on the Dessel-Mol site and definitely closed down at the end of the seventies.

Institut des Radioéléments (IRE)

Located in Fleurus
In operation since 1971
Specialized in the production and conditioning of radionuclides for medical applications