The safe management of a country’s radioactive substances in both the short and the long term implies a cost to its present society and necessitates financial resources to cover these costs. Once they are needed, these financial resources may prove to be insufficient or even completely lacking, leading to a nuclear liability. By virtue of article 9 of the Belgian law of 12th December 1997, the Belgian Government wishes to avoid the occurrence of such nuclear liabilities. This law charges ONDRAF/NIRAS, the Belgian Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials with the mission to draw up a register of the localisation and the state of all nuclear sites and all sites containing radioactive substances, to estimate the costs of their decommissioning and remediation, to evaluate the existence and adequacy of the provisions for financing these future or current operations and to update the resulting inventory of nuclear liabilities on a five-yearly basis.
This paper outlines the methodology put in place by ONDRAF/NIRAS to accomplish this assignment and highlights some of the results of this third inventory. It then focuses on the main recommendations ONDRAF/NIRAS made to the Belgian Government on the field of avoiding potential nuclear liabilities.