History

The history of Belgoprocess is intertwined with that of Eurochemic, an experimental reprocessing plant that was founded in Dessel in 1957 by an international consortium. Its mission was twofold: the recycling of spent nuclear fuel and conducting scientific research into new reprocessing methods.

When the international consortium was stopped in the late 70s, the Belgian government concluded an agreement in principle for the takeover of Eurochemic.

The 80’s –

foundation & reorganisation

Belgoprocess was founded in 1984 as a subsidiary of Synatom (responsible for managing the nuclear fuel cycle of the Belgian nuclear power plants) for the continuation of the reprocessing activities including dismantling of the installations after operations had ceased.

In 1986, the government decided to stop all reprocessing activities in Belgium. Belgoprocess is transferred to NIRAS, the National Institute for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials. NIRAS is entrusted by law (8/8/1980) and by royal decree (30/3/1981) with the management of radioactive waste generated on Belgian territory. As a subsidiary of NIRAS, Belgoprocess is commissioned by NIRAS to safely process and temporarily store this radioactive waste. In 1989 the waste department of the Belgian Nuclear Research Center (SCK•CEN) was also transferred to Belgoprocess.

The 90’s –

successful industrial operator

In the 90s, Belgoprocess successfully operates its two sites – site 1 (former Eurochemic site) and site 2 (former SCK•CEN waste department) – responsible for safely treating and conditioning radioactive waste and for dismantling obsolete nuclear installations.

Today –

international application of expertise

Today, Belgoprocess is actively working at applying its operational expertise internationally. This has lead to the establishment of various joint ventures and consortia and to a number of international contracts, ranging from treating foreign waste on site, to decommissioning off-site obsolete nuclear facilities, and to implementing plasma thermal technology.

Belgoprocess is recognized internationally for its expertise. A number of its expert engineers are active members of various working groups of the European Community, the OECD and the IAEA determining the rules of radioactive waste management for the future and for setting standards for clearance and recycling of radioactive waste.

Milestones

1984
Foundation Belgoprocess
1985
Belgoprocess takes over Eurochemic
PAMELA vitrification installation operational
1986
Transfer of Belgoprocess shares to NIRAS
1987
Start of the decommissionnig studies Eurochemic
1989
Start decommissioning of pilot project Eurochemic
Take over of SCK•CEN waste department
Start treating low-level waste
1990
Start decommissioning Eurochemic
1991
Start decontamination of PAMELA
1994
Supercompactor CILVA installation operational
1995
Partial decommissioning of PAMELA
CILVA incinerator operational
1999
Pyrolysis installation operational
2000
First return shipment of vitrified waste
2003
ATAL-Belgoprocess joint venture founded: contract for design, construction and operation of storage building for low-level waste in Hong Kong
2004
Start operation of building 280X for treating legacy medium-level waste
2007
Start operation of PAMELA for treating a-contaminated waste
2009
Contract for plasma installation in Kozloduy nuclear power plant in Bulgaria
Contract for decommissioning of Belgonucleaire MOX plant
Contract for incinerator for Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine
2011
Contract for treating German low-level waste
2012
Contract for decommissioning Thetis research reactor
2014
Completion of decommissioning/demolition Eurochemic
Contract for treating Dutch nuclear waste signed
Completion decommissioning Belgonucleaire MOX plant
2015
All non-radioactive waste from the Solarium and HRA wells has been processed
2016
In coöperation with Belgoprocess, the Spanish engineering company Iberdrola built a tilting plasma oven for the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant in Bulgaria
2017
Start of the construction of IPM (Monolith Production Plant)
2018
Last return transport received in building 136
New emergency headquarters put into operation
2019
Belgoprocess is developing a mobile pyrolysis installation, known as the PRIME (Pyrolysis Resins In Mobile Electric installation), in collaboration with the Dutch mechanical engineering company Montair.
2020
Commissioning of building 151E (extension of capacity for the storage of low-level conditoned waste)