In Belgium, ONDRAF/NIRAS (the Belgian Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile materials) is charged with radioactive waste management. This includes among others the compilation of the inventory, the collection and the transport, the processing, the interim storage and the long-term management of radioactive waste, as well as missions concerning decommissioning and management of enriched fissile materials. More information on ONDRAF/NIRAS and radioactive waste management can be found on their website: https://www.ondraf.be/ - https://www.niras.be/.
The Study Centre for Nuclear energy (SCK/CEN) in Mol also has a substantial research programme on the various aspects of radioactive waste management. More information can be found on the SCK/CEN website: http://www.sckcen.be/.
In short, the situation of radioactive waste management is as follows:
Pending a solution for long-term management, the radioactive waste is temporarily and safely stored mainly on the Belgoprocess site in Dessel (Province of Antwerp). The buildings are specifically designed in accordance with the type of waste they contain. More information on this interim storage can be found on the Belgoprocess website: http://www.belgoprocess.be/
In Belgium, such interim storage is not considered as a permanent management solution. Therefore, ONDRAF/NIRAS examines the possibility for a final destination of the radioactive waste. One of the main concerns is to find a safe solution, acceptable from the viewpoint of protection of the population and the environment, without imposing undue burdens on future generations. The solution currently favored by ONDRAF/NIRAS is the disposal of radioactive waste. Disposal refers to the emplacement of radioactive waste in an appropriate facility, with no a priori intention of recovering it but without prejudice to the possibility of proceeding, if necessary, with the recovery of waste in accordance with the procedures defined in the National Policies. The possible disposal solutions depend on the characteristics of the radioactive waste. Discussions are taking place between ONDRAF/NIRAS, FANC and its subsidiary Bel V on the safety analyses of radioactive waste disposal.
In Belgium, there is currently no constructed disposal facility. Nonetheless, ONDRAF/NIRAS submitted a license application to the FANC (i.e. the Safety Authority) for a surface disposal facility suitable for category A waste (low- and intermediate-level short-lived waste) in Dessel. No decision on the fate of category B (low- and intermediate-level long-lived waste) and C (high activity waste) waste has been taken so far by the Belgian government. On April 15, 2020, ONDRAF/NIRAS submitted to FANC the draft long-term management plan for this waste and the accompanying strategic environmental assessment report for advice. ONDRAF/NIRAS launched a public consultation at the same time. The advice of the FANC and of other public institutions and the comments of the public must be submitted no later than June 13, 2020.