LEADING NUCLEAR INDUSTRY // In the nineteen fifties, Belgium held a prominent position worldwide in the nuclear sector. The country had gained this prominence thanks to the uranium mines in its former African colony of Congo. Belgium was one of the main suppliers of uranium ore to the United States, which was the leading nuclear superpower. In exchange for these supplies, Belgium acquired privileged access to the ‘sensitive’ nuclear knowledge for civilian purposes. This was demonstrated for the first time in 1952 with the establishment of the nuclear research centre SCK, Study Centre for Nuclear Energy, in Mol. The SCK was to provide the Belgian academic and industrial institutions access to the worldwide development of nuclear energy. In order to maintain this leading position in nuclear technology, the Belgian government successfully applied for the construction of the pilot reprocessing plant Eurochemic. The plant was to be built in the shadow of the SCK on the bleak moors of Dessel owned by the Belgian Royal Family.

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