Belgian reprocessing contract completed

07 January 2015

The final shipment of waste from the reprocessing of Belgian research reactor fuel has been made from the UK to Belgium.

Dounreay shipment to Belgium 395 (DSRL)
The final drum of waste during its transit (Image: DSRL)

The shipment, containing three barrels of cemented waste from the reprocessing of the used fuel at Dounreay, arrived at Belgoprocess' site in Dessel, Belgium, on 26 December, the country's Federal Agency for Nuclear Control said.

This was the 21st and final shipment under a contract signed between the UK Atomic Energy Agency (UKAEA) and the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-CEN) in the 1990s, Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) noted.

Under the contract, between 1993 and 1994 some 240 used fuel elements were sent from Belgium's BR2 research reactor to the UK's Dounreay site in Scotland for reprocessing.

The fuel has since been dissolved and the re-usable uranium separated from the waste "fission products" and turned into new fuel. The higher activity liquid waste was conditioned and solidified in cement within 500-litre stainless steel drums.

In total, 123 drums of cemented intermediate-level, long-lived waste have been transported from Dounreay to Dessel since August 2012. These wastes and will be stored for several years in a purpose-built building at Dessel, pending final disposal.

Part of the Dounreay site closure program involves closing historic reprocessing contracts and returning the waste to the customers where feasible, under the return of waste clause in the reprocessing contracts, DSRL said.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News