The 21st transport of solid radioactive waste from Dounreay (Scotland) to Belgium since September 2012, which will be the last, took place on Friday. It was done “in optimal security conditions”, said the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Agence Fédéral de Contrôle Nucléaire, AFCN) on its web site. It is middle range activity and long-life waste, from the Center for the Study of Nuclear Energy (Centre d’Etude de l’Energie nucléaire, CEN). It is from nuclear fuel reprocessing. A transport package containing three drums of solid waste arrived at the specially designed delivery building at the Belgoprocess site at Dessel (Antwerp province). It will be unloaded over the next few weeks. The CEN’s research activities in Mol needed 240 rods of fuel. These were, at the start of the 90s, sent to Scotland, where the uranium was reused. This process produces liquid waste, which is solidified and stored in drums. The drums, around a hundred of them, were then sent to Dessel.
The 21 convoys went smoothly, said the AFCN. “There was a problem on the boat (a brief incident with the Parida’s chimney) but that only concerned the technical area of the boat and not the nuclear cargo”, said the agency spokesman Nele Scheerlinck.
After the sea voyage, the drums were transported by truck. The route and hours are never revealed for security reasons.
Other nuclear transports will go through Belgium in the coming years, like vitrified radioactive waste heading towards the Netherlands from France.