Press release
Paris, 28 January 1997

Decommissioning of nuclear facilities: Two new NEA publications

The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD/NEA) to-day announced the publication of two new reports that take stock of international progress in the key areas of nuclear plant decommissioning and material recycling and reuse in OECD member countries.

The first publication, The NEA Co-operative Programme on Decommissioning, presents the results of this international programme during its first ten years from 1985-95. This Programme now involves 12 countries and some 30 decommissioning projects, including 20 reactors and seven reprocessing plants.

The Programme to date has resulted in an extensive exchange of technical knowledge and experience in decommissioning derived predominately from research and development activities in support of decommissioning, together with the decommissioning of prototype facilities. During the last five-year period, the emphasis of the Programme changed from such an exchange to consideration of "industrialisation" of the decommissioning process. This change resulted from a recognition that, with the nuclear industry now maturing, some commercial scale facilities are being shut down and decommissioning started. Thus, there has been a need to demonstrate that the methodology and processes to be used by decommissioning contractors are safe, reliable and economic.

The report contains details of the progress of the participating projects under seven broad headings: activity inventories, cutting techniques, remote operation, decontamination, melting, radioactive waste management and health and safety. Data have also been assembled in the area of decommissiong cost comparisons.

The second publication, Recycling and Reuse of Scrap Metals, results from the work of a Task Group of the Co-operation Programme on Decommissioning in charge of examining the means for maximising the recovery of valuable materials from decommissioning activities, as well as for minimising the quantity of waste from such operations. The report focuses on the recycling and reuse of scrap metal, approximately 30 million metric tons of which will be generated during the next 50 years from dismantling and decommissioning of nuclear facilities. The report concludes that the recycling and reuse of materials generated from decommissioning nuclear facilities is both practicable and cost-effective, and the most significant impediment to this process is the absence of consistent, internationally accepted release criteria. This report provides some unique insights into the state of the recycling world from the nuclear decommissioning perspective.

The NEA Co-operative Programme on Decommissioning: The First Ten Years, 1985-95
OECD, Paris 1996, 142 pages

Recycling and Reuse of Scrap Metals: A Report by a Task Group of the Co-operative Programme on Decommissioning
OECD, Paris 1996, 60 pages

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