Gieljan de Vries

Gieljan de Vries

science writer

Background article

KIJK magazine no. 8, 2020

Dismantling nuclear power plants: a matter of years

Belgium is decommissioning its nuclear power plants immediately after shutting them down in 2025, but in the Netherlands Dodewaard (shut down in 1997) will cool down for decades. KIJK asks me to find out what is smarter. Is a less radioactive plant easier to dismantle, or are we hampering ourselves because crucial knowledge is leaking away?

In KIJK no. 8 of 2020, I travel to Belgium; with two plants of a total of seven mature nuclear reactors they are an order of magnitude more nuclear than the Netherlands with its single plant near Borssele. Decommissioning experts Luc Noynaert, Kris Peeters and Arnoud Du Bois talk me through how we should take care of the radioactive machinery in a nuclear power plant. The result is great stories about how to dismantle our nuclear heritage as safely as possible - and an unexpectedly honest answer as to why the decommissioner at Dodewaard has such a different approach than the rest of the nuclear sector.