Low and medium level waste management means reducing the amount of waste generated during maintenance and operation of the plant, in accordance with the ALARA concept, while keeping not only the quality of the product but also the associated costs under control.
All this waste is managed by ONDRAF/NIRAS, the Belgian Federal Agency responsible for waste management, including conditioning, intermediate storage and final disposal.
Unfortunately, the actions taken by ONDRAF/NIRAS and the producers in order to reduce waste production have had a negative impact on waste treatment tariffs.
It has become necessary to re-examine the relationship between ONDRAF/NIRAS and the producers, in order to control the costs of waste management. This problem concerns not only the treatment costs but also the disposal costs.
The volume of waste has fallen from 30M3/Thwh in 1985 to 4.m3/Twh in 2000, not by chance but as the result of a new site organisation geared towards achieving this aim. This paper presents firstly the history of Belgian waste management, taking into account the impact on the associated costs, and secondly the measures that have to be taken in order to be able to decide which new technologies are necessary to go further with the objective of waste volume reduction in a new environment, namely deregulation and consequently high pressure on production costs. Finally, it presents a few conclusions.