Belgoprocess L.L.C. and SCK•CEN, the Belgian nuclear research centre, have been awarded a contract by Belgonucleaire to decommission the shut-down Mixed OXides (MOX) fuel fabrication plant in Dessel, Belgium. The five-year contract is valued at €10 million ($13.6 million).
Belgoprocess and SCK•CEN have created a joint venture that will provide two teams of operators to dismantle the gloveboxes, a well as a team of engineers to manage the decommissioning activities in close cooperation with Belgonucleaire and provide expert advise in waste management, dismantling, radiation protection and environmental impact. In addition, Belgoprocess will be responsible for processing all radioactive waste produced during the decommissioning activities.
“This project marks another milestone in our decommissioning activities,” says Walter Bogaerts, chief executive officer of Belgoprocess. “We developed an excellent reputation as a decommissioning expert through the successful decommissioning of the former reprocessing plant Eurochemic, the first reprocessing plant in the world to be decommissioned. We look forward to using that expertise to complete the Belgonucleaire project safely and responsibly.”
Belgonucleaire started industrial production of MOX fuel in 1986 and produced 660 tons of MOX in its 20 years of operation. The last fabrication campaign was completed on 15 August 2006. In 2008, the Belgian federal government granted a licence to Belgonucleaire to dismantle the MOX plant.
Belgoprocess is recognised internationally for its expertise in processing radioactive waste and decommissioning shut-down nuclear installations. It also operates temporary storage facilities for low- and high-level nuclear waste and cooperates in the design and engineering of final disposal facilities and related conditioning plants. For more information, visit the website at www.belgoprocess.be.
SCK•CEN is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for research in the field of peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology with more than 50 years of experience. SCK•CEN has built a large know-how in decommissioning and decontamination, thanks to its BR3 decommissioning project. More information is available at www.sckcen.be.