Dismantling, Decontamination and Waste

The Dismantling, Decontamination and Waste expert group comprises 3 units:

  • Dismantling and Decontamination (D&D)
  • Management of Waste and Liabilities (MWL)
  • Decontamination and Clean-up Processes (DCP)

Services & Consultancy 

>> Our Services - Decommissioning & Decontamination

Leaflet: Dismantling, Decontamination and Waste 

Head of Expert Group: Noynaert Luc

Dismantling and Decontamination

SCK•CEN has built a large know-how in decommissioning & decontamination (D&D), thanks to its BR3 reactor decommissioning project. Selected in 1989 as European pilot decommissioning project by the European Commission within his Framework Programme, the BR3 project has allowed testing, comparing and qualifying various techniques for the decommissioning and decontamination of nuclear facilities. Moreover, data on cost, waste production and specific radioprotection topics have been accumulated throughout the project.

The unit is specialized in a number of services:

  • Project management, decommissioning plan, inventory and cost estimate
  • Licencing aspects
  • Decommissioning techniques
  • Decontamination techniques and material management
  • Fuel removal and evacuation
  • Characterisation
  • Radioprotection optimisation

Head of Unit: Jérôme Dadoumont

Management of Waste and Liabilities

The exploitation of a nuclear research centre leads to the creation of numerous waste fluxes and liabilities which have to be managed in a safe and cost effective way. Within the legal Belgian framework MWL offers a complete technical, administrative and financial follow up of these issues:

  • Collection, identification, pre-treatment, inventarisation and packaging of nuclear material and waste.
  • NDA characterisation: SCK•CEN disposes of specific apparatus for qualitative and quantitative measurements; Q², 3AX, Isocs, …
  • Temporary storage of the waste prior to processing: a dedicated building (CBZ) comprises besides the NDA lab and the α-chamber (decontamination, dismantling of α bearing glove boxes and cells) a large storage hall for low, medium and high level waste.
  • In-house developed software and databases for dismantling cost calculation, nuclear material accountancy, material tracking, nuclear inventory of infrastructures, installations and waste.

MWL is also strongly involved in:

  • The editing and review of decommissioning plans.
  • Cost calculation for the dismantling of existing as well as future facilities.
  • Valorisation of the knowledge and experience that is available in the Dismantling, Decontamination and Waste expert group

Head of Unit: Patrick Maris

 Alpha chamber: dismantling a cell  Q² facility : NDA measurement on waste drums/filters

Alpha chamber: dismantling a cell 

Q² facility: NDA measurement on waste drums/filters

CBZ : waste storage facility  Nuclear material accountancy software

CBZ: waste storage facility 

Nuclear material accountancy software  

 Alpha chamber : dismantling gloveboxes/cells  Waste management database

Alpha chamber: dismantling gloveboxes/cells 

Waste management database

Decontamination & Clean-up Processes


Decontamination is defined as the removal of radioactive material to a place where it can be controlled, stored, or disposed. As such, decontamination plays a key role in reducing collective exposures and/or waste volumes in nuclear infrastructure, both operational as in dismantling. Furthermore decontamination and clean-up plays a vital part in site/infrastructure clearance, to remove all traces of radioactivity.

Clean-up is also applicable to the non-standard/specialized cleaning of (sub)systems as for instance the alkali metal test loops used for fast reactor qualification tests.

The unit has gained expertise in all these different fields of work and numerous methods of decontamination, always focusing on an efficient, safe and cost effective execution.

Main activities

  • Decontamination of circuits by circulation of chemical solutions
  • Decontamination of dismantled components by:
    • immersing in chemical solutions
    • wet abrasive blasting (the combined projection of grit and pressurised water)
  • Decontamination of concrete infrastructure and removal of embedded piping by:
    • shaving/scabbling/drilling of and into surfaces
    • wire sawing of thick concrete blocks
    • core drilling around embedded piping
  • Testing of different decontamination techniques
  • Studies on secondary waste optimization
  • Clean-up of non-nuclear alkali metal test loops (with high chemical risks)
  • Project studies, both internal and external


Unconditional clearance of contaminated metals by:

  • MEDOC® Chemical Decontamination Process/Workshop
  • ZOE Sandblasting Unit


  • BR3 PWR dismantling project
  • BR2 CALLISTO loop decontamination and dismantling
  • Alkali metal test infrastructure removal in the TCH building
  • Other dismantling/refurbishment activities at SCK•CEN
  • External projects

Head of Unit: Kurt Van den Dungen