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    Nuclear waste storage to cost at least €8 billion

    © Belga
    The costs of nuclear waste storage and government policy in the sphere are grave concerns.
    © Belga

    The National Office for Nuclear Waste and Fissile Material (ONDRAF) is working upon a new assessment of the cost of storage of radioactive waste. The cost estimate is now closer to €8 billion, compared to an initial projection of €3.2 billion. The point is reported in Le Soir on Wednesday.

    In 2013, the scenario of placing the most dangerous waste into landfill 200 metres deep was assessed at €3.2 billion, which is a figure now believed to be highly optimistic.

    ONDRAF is therefore in the process of revising these amounts, in consultation with waste producers (Electrabel, but also the centre for studies in Mol, Belgoprocess). The most favourable assumption places the value of landfilling and installation of storage at €8 billion. However the Office also mentions an alternative amount of €10 billion.

    Evelyn Hooft, the ONDRAF spokeswoman, said, “We have taken the initiative to review the base scenario. The reassessment in this regard is in progress, and should be finalised in September. We are not in a position to communicate the final total that will be retained.” She simply confirmed, “However, it will easily be greater than the cost identified in the past.” At present the company awaits ratification of the figures by the Board of Directors.

    The total in question serves as a basis for the calculation of the reserves that Electrabel, the operator of the Belgian power stations, should pay annually with a view to contributing to the fund which will finance waste storage.

    Nevertheless, no political decision has been taken to date upon landfilling. It is not therefore officially known what will happen to this radioactive waste so as to keep it away from humankind.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times