Refurbishment of the tritium laboratories at SCK•CEN

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SCK•CEN's general management has decided to refurbish the laboratories. A new ventilation system, including a stack and gloveboxes equipped with a detritiation installation, will allow a higher tritium inventory limit of 0.37 PBq. This paper discusses the ongoing refurbishment of the two neighbouring SCK•CEN tritium laboratories. Currently one laboratory has been denuclearised whilst the other is still in operation and a number of conclusions can already be drawn. The Belgian authority and nuclear control agency only accepted a tritium free release limit based on removable surface tritium contamination of less than 4 Bq/dm². This rigorously low limit made the free release of the laboratory's equipment extra labour intensive. A reasonable free release limit of 250 Bq/dm² would have led to fewer disposals of materials as nuclear waste and less generation of secondary nuclear waste. Nevertheless we succeeded in denuclearising most of the equipment, waste and infrastructure without the personnel having received measurable doses of tritium. It has been estimated that if the free released metals were disposed to a nuclear melting facility 22% of the costs could have been saved, but free release might be more socially acceptable.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Working Group "Hot Laboratories and Remote Handling" Proceedings
Place of PublicationJülich, Germany
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2007
EventHotlab 2006, Plenary meeting 2006 - European Working Group "Hot Laboratories and Remote Handling", Jülich, Germany
Duration: 19 Sep 200621 Sep 2006


ConferenceHotlab 2006, Plenary meeting 2006


  • tritium, decommissioning, decontamination, free release limit, strategy

ID: 246752