Mol (Belgium)

Map of Mol

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At Mol-Dessel nuclear research reactors, fuel cycle facilities and facilities for waste treatment and storage are located since 1952.

Research Reactors :
VENUS zero-power reactor
BR1 graphite reactors
BR2 materials testing reactor
BR3 research PWR, in decommissioning phase

Fuel cycle facilities:
Mox plant of the company Belgonucléaire: Fuel fabrication, specialised on MOX-fuel, in operation since 1973, yearly production of 35 to 38 tons of MOX fuel

Belgoprocess waste management and storage facilities:
The waste management facilities at Mol-Dessel are operated by Belgoprocess since 1984. The company Belgoprocess receives its task of processing the radioactive waste that is produced in Belgium and that cannot be processed by the producers themselves by NIRAS (the public agency in charge of radioactive waste management in Belgium).
In the Belgoprocess facilities low, medium and high level solid and liquid waste from nuclear power plants, hospitals, laboratories, and from the dismantling of nuclear installations and buildings is processed.
There also are storage facilities for low level waste (a new storage building is to be commissioned in 2004), for medium level conditioned waste (a new building is necessary but has not been commissioned by 2004), for spent fuel and for other high level waste. Since 2000 consignments of vitrified high level waste from Cogema were retrieved (the last one in 2003).

Eurochemic: a reprocessing plant located on the Mol site and closed down at the end of the seventies, is now decommissioned.
HADES underground facility for the study of geological waste disposal

Facilities in Mol

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
BR2Research Reactor1961
MolResearch Centre

At the BR-1 reactor a Ra-226 source was sent from BR1 to ITU (Karlsruhe) by mistake. The incident was classified as level 1 on the INES. The source was later on transferred back. During the inventory of the sources in the dry storage of BR1, 2 sources were found in a wrong location.


A high radioactive release (Hg) was observed from the BR2-Hot Cell as a result of the breaking of an irradiated flask. The release exceeded one of the authorized limits for the month of October 2003.


Partial flooding of the Liquid Treatment Building 108. The failure of a measuring device resulted in a partial flooding of the building with tap water, followed with a loss of the building ventilation (flooding of the fans) and a limited release of slightly radioactive contaminated water outside the building. The vessel ventilation was not affected during the incident. There were no significant radiological consequences. The incident was classified on level 1 of the INES because of deficiency in safety culture.


In 2002 at the BR2 one INES level 1 event took place: the neutronic fluence exceeded the allowable value for two guide-tubes of compensating rods, due to the lack of systematic calculation. The guide-tubes have been replaced, and a systematic follow-up of the fluence has been set up.
An increase of the activity in I-131 of the primary water (still below admissible limits) indicated the presence of fuel defects. The origin of the defects is not yet identified.


At Belgonucleaire there was one significant event in 2000: the ventilation of the building A was lost during 30 minutes; it was caused by a protection measurement of the underpressure in the corridor around the building, which reached a low level alarm caused by fluctuations of the underpressure during a storm in the region. No radiological consequences were observed. The installation has been adapted after the incident.


Belgium has restarted its 34-year-old BR2 materials testing reactor after 21 month of extensive refitting to prolong its working life by 10 to 15 years. The refit included replacement of the high flux reactor's beryllium matrix and inspection of the aluminum vessel.
The work also covered reliability and availability of the installations, safety of operation and compliance with modern safety standards.
The refurbishment required 150 man-years of work by the own staff and 400 million Belgian francs in external costs and investments.
The reactor will resume doing safety research, producing isotopes for medicine & industry and silicon doping.