Belgoprocess is capable of processing almost every type of low and medium level radioactive waste and thereby covering a large segment from the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. Waste from numerous producers is treated and conditioned into a stable end product. Such processes lead inevitably to the generation of a large number of different waste streams. Each of these streams is uniquely defined by its radiological and physicochemical characteristics. From regulatory point of view and in order to select appropriate processing and conditioning techniques it is essential to characterize each of these waste streams. Because of the labour-intensive nature of the work and to keep a trustworthy traceability, Belgoprocess has decided to automate this task as far as possible. Therefore it has developed a system that seamlessly integrates waste-accounting and radiological characterization into one system. The use of generic methodologies, isotope vectors and a measurement database makes it possible to characterize most waste packages without elaborate knowledge of radiological characterization. A nuclear engineer develops generic methodologies and defines isotope vectors and appropriate measurements. These combinations are documented in procedures and used by the waste-accounting team to characterize the waste packages. The whole system is designed and programmed in such a way that it offers maximum flexibility and traceability. For example, changes in characterization of the previously processed and conditioned waste will propagate through the system until the changes reach the end product. This kind of systematic approach to radioactive waste characterization is found to be very fruitful.

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