In addition to its production activities, IRE ELiT is also involved in the radiological monitoring of the Belgian territory through the activities of its Laboratory of Radioactivity Measurement, and in the development of international projects in various radioactivity sectors through its Service of Radiological Characterization and its “project and business development” unit.
Radioisotopes occur naturally, but can also be artificially produced by different processes such as neutron activation (neutron capture by the nucleus of an atom, resulting in excess neutrons) using a cyclotron, for example.
Like any other facility where radioactivity is handled, the activities performed at IRE - IRE ELiT are subject to prior authorization by the safety authorities. In order to obtain and maintain this authorization, it must be demonstrated and guaranteed that the proposed prevention means provide optimal and effective protection for workers, local residents and the environment, and that any potential effects of ionising radiation are kept at the lowest possible level.
At the IRE, the risk is limited to the number of isotopes present on the site, and this number is very small compared with what happens in a nuclear plant.
Finally, there are more than a hundred nuclear plants worldwide, whereas there is only one IRE and only three or four other installations similar to ours.
In addition, as for any production facility, and all the more so in the nuclear sector, equipment is closely monitored for wear and ageing, both by the operator and by the supervisory bodies and authorities.
Moreover, since the creation of the IRE, many improvements have been made to the existing facilities, and new facilities have been built to ensure and improve the level of safety.
Furthermore, IRE - IRE ELiT is currently making major investments in the areas of safety/security, and is working continuously on optimizing the safety and security of its installations, which remains the top priority for the IRE.
For example, we have an advanced system for monitoring and controlling gaseous effluents. This highly efficient system, which is unique in Belgium, uses the latest technologies available in the sector and is based on advanced analysis techniques. It provides, at all times, an extremely precise analysis of the qualitative and quantitative composition of the air in the chimney located on our site (accurate discrimination of isotopes in gas and aerosol form).