Dutch regulator approves multi-functional storage facility

02 June 2023

The Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS) has granted the final permit to the Central Organisation for Radioactive Waste (Covra) for the construction of a new multi-functional storage building for low and intermediate-level waste at its site in Nieuwdorp, in the municipality of Borssele, the Netherlands.

The current buildings on the Covra site and the location where the MOG will be located (Image: Covra)

In August last year, Covra applied to ANVS for a permit change under the Nuclear Energy Act to construct the Multifunctional Storage Building (MOG). Among the documents submitted by Covra along with the permit application were an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and a supplement to its safety report.

ANVS said its EIA Committee has issued a recommendation on this report and the information on accident scenarios has been supplemented in response to this advice. The EIA now describes in more detail how Covra includes the mandatory ten-year safety evaluation in the design of the MOG. The Committee also recommended that a more up-to-date nitrogen calculation be carried out. The ANVS now judges that the information complies with the committee's advice.

ANVS published a so-called draft permit in December for public consultation. It said it received a total of four responses from citizens, an interest group and Covra itself. "The responses raised questions about the usefulness of the MOG, alternatives and the consequences for nature, among other things," the regulator said. "We have answered these questions and a number of regulations have been amended."

ANVS has now published the final permit.

The next step for Covra is to apply for a building permit from the municipality of Borssele. Once the necessary permits have been obtained, the contract for the construction of the MOG can be put on the market and then awarded. Then construction can start. Completion of the new storage building is expected in 2025.

Covra announced plans for the MOG facility in March 2021. It says the new storage building is mainly intended for the storage of historical radioactive waste that is currently stored on the site of medical isotope producer NRG in Petten. Future decommissioning waste from nuclear installations in the Netherlands will also be placed in the MOG. The current processing and storage at Covra is not yet suitable for this. The new building - designed for the storage of drums of radioactive waste in special stackable storage containers - will provide sufficient storage capacity until 2050.

The 2400-square-metre MOG will have a repacking area where drums with radioactive waste are packed from the transport container into the storage container. These stackable storage containers will also be used for final storage. Covra said the building will also be made suitable for waste that it currently receives and which could possibly be processed and packaged in a different way in the future with a view to disposal. MOG - designed for a lifespan of at least 100 years - will be able to accommodate 4000 cubic metres of radioactive waste. The building has been designed in such a way that the storage capacity can easily be expanded later.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News