At the end of the 80’s, the Belgian State ordered an inventory of the liabilities of the Belgian nuclear programme, to be fully or partially financed by them. ONDRAF/NIRAS (National Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials) was entrusted with the management of the waste and the development of a programme for the clearance of the identified liabilities. One of these liabilities is the treatment and conditioning of some 200 m3 of widely varying high- and medium level waste. The gross volume of primary and secondary packages amounts to 2,600 m3. As the waste is stored in vaults or in concrete shielding containers and no appropriate treating and conditioning facilities are in operation, the HRA/SOLARIUM project was launched. The bulk of these wastes, of which 95% are solids, the remainder consisting of mainly solidified liquids, have been produced between 1967 and 1988. They originate from various research programmes and reactor operation at the Belgian nuclear energy research centre SCK·CEN, isotope production, decontamination and dismantling operations. About 4,800 packages of various types are concerned and must be treated (standard steel barrels, special containers, shielded overpacks,…); they contain medium-active wastes (solid or liquid), radium bearing or not, β/γ or α/β/γ, and special wastes (Al, spent resins, Na/Nak, …). The new HRA/SOLARIUM facilities, located on site 2 of Belgoprocess in Mol, have been commissioned in the 2nd semester 2003. The paper describes the project itself and focuses on the lessons learned from first operation years.

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