Covra seeks permit change for new waste storage facility

12 August 2022

The Central Organisation for Radioactive Waste (Covra) has applied to the country's nuclear regulator for a change in its licence to allow the construction of a new multi-functional storage building for low and intermediate-level waste at its site in Nieuwdorp, in the municipality of Borssele, the Netherlands.

The current buildings on the Covra site and the location where the MOG will be located (Image: Covra)

In order to be able to build the Multifunctional Storage Building (MOG), Covra's permit under the Nuclear Energy Act must be changed. Covra said it submitted all the documents required for this change - including an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and a supplement to its safety report - to the Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS) on 5 August.

The EIA ensures that the environmental interests are fully taken into account in the decision-making process about the permit. ANVS has previously provided Covra with advice on the scope and level of detail for the EIA that is required when applying for a licence change.

ANVS said it will now assess whether Covra's application contains all the necessary information. If so, it will process the application for the license change and within the next few weeks publish a so-called draft permit for public consultation. Anyone can respond to this within six weeks of publication. Once the consultation period is over, ANVS will carefully study all responses. These are included in the decision whether the permit can be issued and what conditions are set to protect people and the environment.

The next step for Covra is to apply for a building permit from the municipality of Borssele. Once the necessary permits have been obtained, the contract for the construction of the MOG can be put on the market and then awarded. Then construction can start. Completion of the new storage building is expected in 2025.

Covra announced plans for the MOG facility in March 2021. It says the new storage building is mainly intended for the storage of historical radioactive waste that is currently stored on the site of medical isotope producer NRG in Petten. Future decommissioning waste from nuclear installations in the Netherlands will also be placed in the MOG. The current processing and storage at Covra is not yet suitable for this. The new building - designed for the storage of drums of radioactive waste in special stackable storage containers - will provide sufficient storage capacity until 2050.

The 2400-square-metre MOG will have a repacking area where drums with radioactive waste are packed from the transport container into the storage container. These stackable storage containers will also be used for final storage. Covra said the building will also be made suitable for waste that it currently receives and which could possibly be processed and packaged in a different way in the future with a view to disposal. MOG - designed for a lifespan of at least 100 years - will be able to accommodate 4000 cubic metres of radioactive waste. The building has been designed in such a way that the storage capacity can easily be expanded later.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News