+353-1-416-8900REST OF WORLD
+44-20-3973-8888REST OF WORLD
1-917-300-0470EAST COAST U.S
1-800-526-8630U.S. (TOLL FREE)

Nuclear Decommissioning. Planning, Execution and International Experience. Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy

  • Book

  • October 2018
  • Region: Global
  • Elsevier Science and Technology
  • ID: 3744560
Once a nuclear installation has reached the end of its safe and economical operational lifetime, the need for its decommissioning arises. Different strategies can be employed for nuclear decommissioning, based on the evaluation of particular hazards and their attendant risks, as well as on the analysis of costs of clean-up and waste management. This allows for decommissioning either soon after permanent shutdown, or perhaps a long time later, the latter course allowing for radioactivity levels to drop in any activated or contaminated components. It is crucial for clear processes and best practices to be applied in decommissioning such installations and sites, particular where any significant health and environmental risks exist.

This book critically reviews the nuclear decommissioning processes and technologies applicable to nuclear power plants and other civilian nuclear facilities. Part one focuses on the fundamental planning issues in starting a nuclear decommissioning process, from principles and safety regulations, to financing and project management. Part two covers the execution phase of nuclear decommissioning projects, detailing processes and technologies such as dismantling, decontamination, and radioactive waste management, as well as environmental remediation, site clearance and reuse. Finally, part three details international experience in the decommissioning of nuclear applications, including the main nuclear reactor types and nuclear fuel cycle facilities, as well as small nuclear facilities and legacy nuclear waste sites.

Table of Contents

Contributor contact details

Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy



Chapter 1: Introduction to nuclear decommissioning: definitions and history


1.1 Semantics

1.2 Definitions

1.3 Reasons for publishing this book

1.4 Planning for decommissioning

1.5 Execution

1.6 International experience

1.7 Conclusions

Part I: Planning: fundamental aspects of starting a nuclear decommissioning process

Chapter 2: Overview of nuclear decommissioning principles and approaches


2.1 The scale of the decommissioning industry

2.2 What is decommissioning?

2.3 Reasons for final shutdown

2.4 The no-action baseline

2.5 History and evolution

2.6 Responsibilities and interests of parties involved in decommissioning

2.7 Overview of technical and nontechnical aspects relevant to decommissioning

2.8 Future trends

2.9 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 3: Nuclear decommissioning policy, infrastructure, strategies and project planning


3.1 Introduction

3.2 Decommissioning policy

3.3 Factors affecting decommissioning strategy

3.4 Options for decommissioning

3.5 The planning process

3.6 Challenges and lessons learned

3.7 Future trends

3.8 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 4: Financing and economics of nuclear facility decommissioning


4.1 Introduction

4.2 Nuclear decommissioning cost estimating and financing

4.3 Recent experience in decommissioning

4.4 Funding schemes

4.5 Challenges and lessons learned

4.6 Future trends

4.7 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 5: Characterisation of radioactive materials in redundant nuclear facilities: key issues for the decommissioning plan


5.1 Introduction

5.2 Characterisation objectives

5.3 The radionuclide inventory

5.4 Stages in the characterisation process

5.5 Characterisation methods

5.6 Equipment and measurement techniques for characterising wastes

5.7 Hazardous materials

5.8 Physical characterisation

5.9 Economic issues

5.10 Challenges and lessons learned

5.11 Future trends

5.12 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 6: Managing the transition from operation to decommissioning of a nuclear facility


6.1 Introduction

6.2 Objectives of the transition period

6.3 Strategic aspects

6.4 Management and administrative aspects

6.5 Implementation aspects

6.6 Challenges and lessons learned

6.7 Sources of further information

Chapter 7: Nuclear decommissioning project organization, management and human resources


7.1 Introduction

7.2 Organization responsible for decommissioning

7.3 Responsibilities, qualifications and training

7.4 Contractors versus operational staff

7.5 Management of change

7.6 Challenges and lessons learned

7.7 Future trends

7.8 Sources of further information

Chapter 8: Public engagement and stakeholder consultation in nuclear decommissioning projects


8.1 Introduction

8.3 Stakeholders relevant to the decommissioning process

8.4 Identifying stakeholders

8.5 The Dounreay low-level waste-disposal facility

8.6 Factors that may influence stakeholder involvement in decommissioning

8.7 How to handle stakeholders

8.8 Challenges and lessons learned

8.9 Future trends

8.10 Sources of further information and advice

8.12 Appendix: list of abbreviations

Chapter 9: Radiological protection in the decommissioning of nuclear facilities: safety, regulations and licensing


9.1 Introduction

9.2 Personnel health and safety issues (ALARA)

9.3 Environmental protection

9.4 Risk prevention and decommissioning preparation

9.5 National and international guidance

9.6 The licensing process for decommissioning

9.7 Challenges and lessons learned

9.8 Future trends

Chapter 10: Nuclear facility design and operation to facilitate decommissioning: lessons learned


10.1 Introduction

10.2 Project factors relevant to design for decommissioning

10.3 Physical features and practice to facilitate decommissioning

10.4 Application of lessons learned: practical guidance

10.5 Challenges and future trends

10.6 Sources of further information and advice

10.7 Acknowledgement

Part II: Execution: nuclear decommissioning processes and technologies, radioactive waste management, site rehabilitation and cleanup

Chapter 11: Safe enclosure and entombment strategies in nuclear decommissioning projects


11.1 Introduction

11.2 Definition of safe enclosure and entombment

11.3 Examples for deferred dismantling strategies (safe enclosure)

11.4 Examples for entombment

11.5 Reasons for selecting the deferred dismantling option

11.6 Preparatory activities

11.7 Management of a safe enclosure/entombment period

11.8 National approaches and international guidance

11.9 Challenges and lessons learned

11.10 Future trends

11.11 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 12: Dismantling and demolition processes and technologies in nuclear decommissioning projects


12.1 Introduction

12.2 Thermal cutting techniques

12.3 Mechanical cutting techniques

12.4 Factors affecting selection of cutting processes and technology

12.5 Cutting versus intact handling of large components

12.6 Demolition of buildings

12.7 Application of specific cutting techniques: pros and cons

12.8 Challenges and lessons learned

12.9 Emerging techniques and future trends

12.10 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 13: Decontamination processes and technologies in nuclear decommissioning projects


13.1 Introduction

13.2 Why and when to decontaminate

13.3 Decontamination of metals

13.4 Decontamination of building surfaces

13.5 Factors affecting selection of decontamination processes and technology

13.6 Application of specific decontamination techniques: pros and cons

13.7 Challenges and lessons learned

13.8 Emerging techniques and future trends

13.9 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 14: Remote operation and robotics technologies in nuclear decommissioning projects


14.1 Introduction

14.2 Remote operation and robotics: definitions and principles

14.3 Development and application of remotely operated and robotics technologies in decommissioning

14.4 Challenges and lessons learned

14.5 Future trends

14.6 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 15: Radioactive waste management in nuclear decommissioning projects


15.1 Introduction

15.2 Spent fuel removal as a prerequisite to decommissioning

15.3 Airborne, waterborne and solid waste from decommissioning: amounts and characterization

15.4 Ventilation and filtration requirements for airborne waste

15.5 Management of liquid waste including decontamination solutions

15.6 Solid waste characterization and segregation for onward processing

15.7 Recycling/reuse and clearance processes

15.8 Waste management and disposal in decommissioning projects

15.9 Challenges and lessons learned

15.10 Future trends

15.11 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 16: Environmental remediation and restoration technologies in nuclear decommissioning projects


16.1 Introduction

16.2 Environmental restoration process

16.3 Types of site remediation techniques and technologies applicable in nuclear decommissioning

16.4 Ex situ remediation techniques and technologies

16.5 In situ treatment technologies

16.6 Remediation of contaminated groundwater

16.7 Disposal of radioactive wastes from remediation

16.8 Challenges

16.9 Lessons learned

16.10 Future trends

16.11 Conclusions

Chapter 17: Site clearance and licence termination in nuclear decommissioning projects


17.1 Introduction

17.2 Regulatory approaches for site clearance and licence termination

17.3 A process for site clearance and licence termination

17.4 Challenges and lessons learned

17.5 Future trends

Chapter 18: Reuse and redevelopment of decommissioned nuclear sites: strategies and lessons learned


18.1 Introduction

18.2 Site redevelopment as an integral part of a facility's lifecycle

18.3 Early planning for redevelopment

18.4 Policy issues in planning for redevelopment

18.5 Management issues

18.6 Technical issues

18.7 Social issues

18.8 Operating experience in reuse of decommissioned sites

18.9 The non-nuclear sector

18.10 Future trends

Part III: International experience: nuclear decommissioning applications and case studies

Chapter 19: Decommissioning of Western-type light-water nuclear reactors (LWRs)


19.1 Introduction

19.2 Types of materials and decommissioning issues

19.3 Decommissioning technologies for major components of light-water reactors (LWRs)

19.4 Specific LWR reactor vessel (RV) internals segmentation experience in the USA

19.5 Specific LWR RV disposition experience in the USA

19.6 Major components dismantling

19.7 Decommissioning technologies for LWR buildings and structures

19.8 Site remediation and reuse in the USA

19.9 Challenges and lessons learned

19.10 Future trends

Chapter 20: Decommissioning of Russian-type water-cooled water-moderated nuclear reactors (WWERs)


20.1 Introduction

20.2 WWER-specific features relevant to decommissioning

20.3 Planning and implementation of WWER decommissioning

20.4 Decommissioning technologies for WWER activated components (RPV and internals)

20.5 Decommissioning technologies for WWER building structures

20.6 Decommissioning waste (material) management

20.7 Challenges and lessons learned

20.9 Appendix

Chapter 21: Decommissioning of gas-cooled nuclear reactors (GCRs)


21.1 Introduction

21.2 Types of materials and aspects of their decommissioning

21.3 Decommissioning strategies for gas-cooled reactors (GCRs)

21.4 Decommissioning technologies for GCR containment components

21.5 Application of particular techniques to GCR decommissioning projects

21.6 Challenges and lessons learned

21.7 Future trends

21.8 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 22: Decommissioning of nuclear fuel cycle facilities


22.1 Introduction

22.2 Overview of nuclear fuel cycle facilities

22.3 Decommissioning strategies and plans

22.4 Decommissioning phases

22.5 Specific issues in decommissioning of NFC facilities

22.6 Decommissioning techniques for NFC facilities

22.7 Demolition techniques

22.8 Challenges and lessons learned

22.9 Future trends

22.10 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 23: Decommissioning of small nuclear facilities: industrial, medical and research facilities


23.1 Introduction

23.2 Types of facilities

23.3 Planning and management

23.4 Application of particular techniques

23.5 Waste management

23.6 Challenges and lessons learned

23.7 Future trends

23.8 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 24: Decommissioning of legacy nuclear waste sites: Dounreay, UK


24.1 Introduction

24.2 Decommissioning programme

24.3 High-hazard decommissioning projects

24.4 High-alpha-contaminated facilities decommissioning

24.5 Pond decommissioning

24.6 Fuel production and reprocessing facilities decommissioning

24.7 Cells and laboratories decommissioning

24.8 Legacy waste facilities

24.9 Fuels management

24.10 Infrastructure decommissioning

24.11 Waste management

24.12 Environmental restoration

24.13 Future challenges

Chapter 25: Decommissioning of legacy nuclear waste sites: Idaho National Laboratory, USA


25.1 Introduction

25.2 Types of materials and decommissioning issues

25.3 Waste retrieval and decontamination processes

25.4 Application of appropriate decommissioning technologies

25.5 Environmental restoration and site clearance: case studies

25.6 Challenges and lessons learned

25.7 Future trends

25.8 Sources of further information and advice

Chapter 26: Information management for nuclear decommissioning projects


26.1 Introduction

26.2 Importance of information management in decommissioning

26.3 Key decommissioning information

26.4 Records and information management and preservation

26.5 Knowledge management in decommissioning

26.6 Challenges and lessons learned

26.7 Future trends

26.8 Sources of further information and advice



Michele Laraia Independent Consultant, Rome, Italy. Michele Laraia, a chemical engineer by background, gained his first degree at the University of Rome. In 1975 he began to work at Italy's Regulatory Body, since 1982 as licensing manager of decommissioning projects. From July 1991, Michele worked at the International Atomic Energy Agency, Waste Technology Section, as Unit Leader responsible for decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear installations and environmental remediation. The objectives of the work were to provide guidance to Member States on the planning and implementation of nuclear decommissioning and site remediation, to disseminate information on good practices, and to provide direct assistance to Member States in the implementation of their programmes. Following his retirement in November 2011 Michele offers consultant services in the above-mentioned areas.