What is Isotopolis?

Isotopolis sheds light on complex subjects like ‘radioactivity’ and ‘radioactive waste management’. The information centre provides clear, easily understandable information for anyone interested in radioactive waste. Isotopolis also has a strong scientific focus, and is an excellent and visually attractive learning tool.

Have you ever wanted to take a peek into a radioactive waste storage facility? Or maybe make an invisible beam visible in a cloud chamber? You can do all that and more during a visit to Isotopolis, ONDRAF/NIRAS’ information centre about radioactive waste, located in Dessel in the Campine region. Unique in Belgium!

Isotopolis encourages an open discussion about all the scientific and social aspects of radioactive waste. And you don’t need to be a science whiz to come and visit us!

Isotopolis: what’s in a name?

The name Isotopolis is a combination of the ancient Greek words isos, topos and polis. ‘Isotope’ refers to radioactive chemical elements. ‘Polis’ was the place where the Greeks used to gather to discuss various matters. Together they give Isotopolis: the place where people can be informed on the subject of radioactive waste.

Isotopolis: an initiative of ONDRAF/NIRAS and Belgoprocess

In 1980 the Belgian government tasked ONDRAF/NIRAS, the Belgian Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials, with the short and long-term management of all radioactive waste located on Belgian territory. The Agency's primary objective is to ensure that this waste is managed as safely as possible. It must also draw up an inventory of all nuclear facilities and other sites containing radioactive waste, with an estimate of the cost of decommissioning them and cleaning them up. ONDRAF/NIRAS has ‘public agency’ status and ensures that radioactive waste is managed in a way that protects public and environmental safety.

Belgoprocess is a subsidiary of ONDRAF/NIRAS and has been responsible for the processing and interim storage of all Belgium’s radioactive waste since 1984. The site receives radioactive waste from nuclear power plants, hospitals, laboratories, etc. After industrial treatment, the waste is stored pending final disposal. Belgoprocess also dismantles decommissioned nuclear facilities: this involves decontamination prior to demolition. Belgoprocess ensures that all radioactive materials are processed and stored without endangering the safety of the public or the environment.