Types of waste

In the treatment and storage of the waste, distinctions are made among low-, medium- and high-level radioactive waste. At COVRA, the treatment and storage of all types of radioactive waste originating from the Netherlands have been combined into one facility.

Low- and medium-level radioactive waste

Low- and medium-level radioactive waste comprises matter such as gloves, laboratory glassware, clothing, resins, syringes, sealed sources of radiation, smoke alarms, plastic wrap, pumps and pipes, contaminated scrap, animal carcasses from research experiments, liquids, filters and sediments. The demolition of laboratories where radioactive materials have been used and the dismantling of nuclear power and research reactors also yield radioactive waste. For low- and medium-level radioactive waste, embedment in concrete is sufficient to contain the radioactive materials and to reduce the radiation.

High-level radioactive waste

High-level radioactive waste consists of nuclear fuel elements that have been used in research reactors, waste from the production of nuclear medical isotopes and reprocessing waste from nuclear power reactors. In the Netherlands this concerns the research reactors in Petten and Delft and the nuclear power reactor in Borssele. The spent nuclear fuel elements from Borssele are reprocessed in France. Reprocessing means that useful components are separated from the waste. The waste is then sent back to the Netherlands and stored at COVRA. The waste with the highest level of radioactivity is processed and packed into glass blocks. Because of the high level of activity in the glass block, heat is released, making cooling necessary. After about 100 years, the waste no longer produces heat. During reprocessing, non-heat-producing radioactive waste is generated as well, which is also returned to COVRA and stored.


Spanjeweg 1
4455 TW Nieuwdorp
The Netherlands

Havennummer 8601

E-mail: info@covra.nl
Tel: +31(0)113 616 666 Fax: +31(0)113 616 650

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