Dessel is a small municipality in the Flemish part of Belgium, in the Antwerp Campine. The municipality has a surface area of 2,703 hectares and borders with Retie and Mol. It has about 9,250 residents.
Besides the building and the sand-winning companies, the nuclear companies form an important employment sector in Dessel, providing some 1,600 jobs in the area. Since the Fifties, nuclear businesses have established their headquarters in the district. A nuclear zone extends over Dessel, Mol and Geel and covers about 1,000 hectares (10 km²).
- There is the nuclear energy study centre SCK-CEN in Mol, which has acquired a worldwide reputation for research into medical and industrial applications of nuclear energy.
- At Euridice, on the SCK-CEN site, investigations are being carried out to see whether it is feasible to dispose of radioactive waste definitively in underground clay strata (underground laboratory HADES).
- Belgoprocess in Dessel specialises in the processing and storage of Belgian radioactive waste and the dismantling of decommisioned nuclear installations.
- At Isotopolis you can visit Belgoprocess and learn more about radioactive waste. Isotopolis is the information centre of NIRAS, the National Institution for Radioactive Waste and enriched Fissile materials. Isotopolis attracts about 12.000 visitors every year.
- On the Belgoprocess site, two other companies are established: Transnubel, specialising in transportation of radioactive materials and Tecnubel, specialising in nuclear decontamination.
- Belgonucleaire and FBFC International in Dessel produce MOX fuel for nuclear power stations worldwide and assemble them. Because of a lack of orders for MOX-fuel, the Belgonucleaire Company will be closed during 2006. In 2011, the factory of FBFC also decided to close. STORA is monitoring these files most attentively.
- IRMM in Geel does accurate measuring of materials, for nuclear as well as non-nuclear activities.
- Since 2001, there is also the Campine base of FANC, the federal agency for nuclear control, in Dessel. This base monitors the nuclear activities in the nuclear zone Mol-Dessel-Geel and Olen (radioactivity originating from the company Union Minière-Umicore Company). Moreover the local base of FANC is available for the nuclear companies, the local councils and the population.