BELGIUM - It is likely that the Belgian government will give the green light for the final underground disposal of nuclear waste before the end of the year. Cost: several billion euros. The taxpayer pays almost half of that. It remains to be seen whether the largest waste producer Electrabel will pay the rest.

The 2003 Nuclear Discharge Act stipulates that the first commercial reactors (Doel 1 and Doel 2) must close down in 2015. The last commercial reactors (Doel 4 and Tihange 1 and 3) will be shut down in 2025 if the timetable laid down in the law is adhered to. This will put an end to nuclear power in Belgium.

The question remains as to what should be done with the nuclear waste resulting from the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, the processing of irradiated nuclear fuel, current management and historical nuclear activities. As far as Europe is concerned, Belgium must have a detailed plan ready by 2015 for the management of long-lived and high-level nuclear waste (so-called B and C waste), which will remain radioactive for thousands to hundreds of thousands of years.

Team members

Senne Starckx

Senne Starckx (1983) is a freelance science journalist.

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