Possibility to respond to temporary storage of raw materials with natural radioactivity in Heerlen

Metrex B.V. has applied for a licence to temporarily store radioactive raw materials at Sourethweg 13 in Heerlen. The Authority intends to grant this licence. Our draft licence specifies the safety requirements that Metrex must meet. Anyone can submit a response to this draft licence until 14 August 2024.

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Image: ©Metrex

Temporary storage of radioactive materials

Natural radioactive substances occur in raw materials, but usually in low concentrations. These raw materials are safe for people and the environment. In this case, Metrex inadvertently received raw materials with a higher concentration of natural radioactive substances. As a result, it requires a permit to process these raw materials.

Due to its natural radioactivity, this batch of raw materials is not suitable for reuse, which means that it is radioactive waste. Because of this, Metrex now needs a permit to temporarily store these materials pending their legal and safe disposal.

Measures to protect workers and the environment

Although Metrex has not yet been granted the licence, the company has already had to take certain measures. This is why it has hired a specialist company that does have the appropriate licence, to protect workers and the environment.

The radioactive materials have been stored in a special space that meets legal requirements and has restricted access. Metrex has also informed the Limburg-Noord Safety Region of the location of these materials. Finally, Metrex must dispose of the substances within two years. To ensure that this is done safely, it needs a separate licence from the Authority.

Metrex does not usually process radioactive materials

Metrex buys used catalysts from oil and gas companies, as well as metallic residues and wastes. The company recycles these materials to make new catalysts and steel. Typically, Metrex does not process materials requiring a radioactive materials licence. In the future, a situation like this is very unlikely to occur again.

Metrex already has a licence for two X-ray machines, which it uses to examine materials. The company is now applying for a temporary modification of this licence for this one batch of raw materials. We have published a draft licence for this temporary modification.

Responses can be submitted until 14 August 2024

You can review the draft licence (in Dutch) for Metrix until 14 August 2024. If you have any comments on the draft licence you wish to share, you may do so by submitting an objection.

There are three ways to respond:

  1. By email: send an email to Postbus.Aanvragenenmelden@anvs.nl and put ‘Objection to draft licence for Metrex B.V.’ in the subject line of your email.
  2. In writing: send a letter to the ANVS, Objection to draft licence for Metrex B.V., PO Box 16001, 2500 BA The Hague.
  3. By phone: call the Information Desk for Nuclear Energy Act licences at +31 (0)88 489 05 00, available from Monday to Friday between 8.30 and 17.00.

In your objection, you can indicate that you wish to receive our decision on the licence application. We will then send you a link when the decision is published on our website. This decision will also include our response to any objections.

Would you like to find out more?

For more information, see the official announcement (in Dutch) in the Government Gazette.