Council of State: PALLAS is given the green light to continue the preparations for the construction of the PALLAS-reactor

Pallas kerncentrale kernreactor hfr petten
11 March 2020

The Foundation Preparation PALLAS-reactor (PALLAS) can continue the preparations for the construction of the PALLAS reactor in Petten as announced by the Council of State today. The Council of State upholds the zoning scheme allowing the construction of the PALLAS-reactor. Hermen van der Lugt, CEO PALLAS: “This is a magnificent step in the right direction. This decision means that the zoning scheme now has become final and that PALLAS can proceed with the application for further licences needed to realize the construction of the PALLAS-reactor.”

PALLAS is going to replace the nearly 60-year old High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten, situated 50 km north of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Effective 2025, PALLAS will continue and expand the production of medical isotopes in order to guarantee the future diagnosis and treatment of millions of patients suffering from cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The Foundation must go through a vast licence trajectory before actually carrying through with the PALLAS-reactor. The procedure regarding the zoning scheme is an important element thereof.

Zoning scheme
On October 2nd, 2017, PALLAS filed a request pertaining to a change in the zoning scheme. The requested change in the zoning scheme concerned enlarging the existing nuclear zone and increasing the maximum allowed construction height. The documents outlining the requested change in the zoning scheme were simultaneously submitted with a Plan-MER (Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)) and a landscape quality plan.

Four separate appeals were lodged against the zoning scheme. Prior to the session, an appeal lodged by a resident of the town of Schagen was judged unfounded, and a local entrepreneur withdrew from the Council of State procedure. The remaining two appeals, lodged by the neighbouring people and the Foundation for the Preservation of the Dunes (Stichting Duinbehoud), oppose the zoning scheme as they believe the new reactor and its facilities will affect both scenery and environment, amongst others as a result of nitrogen emissions. They claim that the ecological investigation was incomplete.

The Council of State rules that it has been sufficiently underpinned that the realization of the PALLAS-reactor will not result in a significant negative impact on the environment. Moreover, given the uncertainties regarding alternative production methods, the decision even states that there is a lack of available alternative production capacity. The location of Petten is defined as a very specific industrial zone (infrastructure and (research) companies; therefore, according to the Council of State there is no need to explore new locations to realize the replacement of the existing reactor.

Read the full decision here.