Since the very beginning of nuclear activities in Belgium, the incineration of radioactive waste was chosen as a suitable technique for achieving an optimal volume reduction of the produced waste quantities.
An experimental furnace “Evence Coppée” was built in 1960 for treatment of LLW produced by the Belgian Research Centre (CEN.SCK). Regulatory this furnace has been modified, improved and equipped with additional installations to obtain better combustion conditions and a more efficient gas cleaning system.
Based on the 35 years of experience gained by the operation of the “Evence Coppée”, a new industrial nuclear incineration installation was set into operation in May 1995, as a part of the Belgian Centralised Treatment/Conditioning Facility CILVA.
Up to the end of 2000, the CILVA incinerator has burnt 703 tons of solid waste and 343 tons of liquid waste.
This paper describes the type of waste and the allowable radioactivity, the incineration process, heat recovery and the air pollution control devices. Special attention is given to the operation experience, capacity, volume reduction, chemical and radiological emissions and maintenance.
The most important changes which improved safety, reliability and capacity are also mentioned.
BELGOPROCESS, a company set up in 1984 at Dessel (Belgium) where a number of nuclear facilities were already installed is specialised in the processing of radioactive waste. It is a subsidiary of ONDRAF/NIRAS, the Belgian Nuclear Waste Management Agency. According to its mission statement, the activities of BELGOPROCESS focus on three areas: treatment, conditioning and interim storage of radioactive waste; decommissioning of shut-down nuclear facilities and cleaning of contaminated buildings and land; operating of storage sites for conditioned radioactive waste.