NEA press room

Press kit: Decommissioning nuclear installations

Decommissioning a nuclear power plant can be defined as the cessation of operations and the withdrawal of the facility from service, followed by its transformation into an out-of-service state and eventually, its complete removal. Decommissioning activities are intended to place the facility in a condition that provides for the health and safety of the general public and the environment, while at the same time protecting the health and safety of the decommissioning workers.

Related NEA reports and publications

Selecting Strategies for the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities Choisir des stratégies de démantèlement des installations nucléaires
A Status Report
This status report is based on the viewpoints and materials presented at a seminar held in Tarragona, Spain on 1-4 September 2003 as well as the experience of the NEA Working Party on Decommissioning and Dismantling (WPDD). It identifies, reviews and analyses factors influencing decommissioning strategies and addresses the challenges associated with balancing these factors in the process of strategy selection.

Releasing the Sites of Nuclear Installations: A Status Report (2006) La fonction réglementaire et la gestion des déchets radioactifs
A Status Report
Releasing the site of a nuclear installation from radiological control is usually one of the last steps of decommissioning. To date, site release has been practised in a limited number of cases only as most decommissioning projects have not yet advanced to a state where the release of the site is imminent or because the site will continue to be used for nuclear activities. Therefore, for a number of decommissioning projects where planning for site release will soon start, this status report provides useful considerations based on NEA member country experience and expert advice.

The NEA Co-operative Programme on Decommissioning
A Decade of Progress
The NEA Co-operative Programme for the Exchange of Scientific and Technical Information Concerning Nuclear Installation Decommissioning Projects (CPD) is a joint undertaking which functions within the framework of an agreement between 21 organisations actively executing or planning the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. The objective of the CPD is to acquire and share information from operational experience in the decommissioning of nuclear installations that is useful for future projects. The information exchange also ensures that best international practice is made widely available and encourages the application of safe, environmentally friendly and cost-effective methods in all decommissioning projects. By the end of 2006, the programme scope included 26 reactors, 8 reprocessing plants and 8 fuel facility projects.

Achieving the Goals of the Decommissioning Safety Case
A Status Report
The key issue in the decommissioning of nuclear facilities is the progressive removal of hazards, by stepwise decontamination and dismantling activities that have to be carried out safely and within the boundaries of an approved safety case. The decommissioning safety case is a collection of arguments and evidence to demonstrate the safety of a decommissioning project. The safety case involves analysing the hazards and the separate stages required for hazard reduction. This status report, drawn from the activities of the OECD/NEA Working Party on Decommissioning and Dismantling (WPDD), will be helpful to individuals and organisations involved in the preparation of a decommissioning safety case.

Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants Démantèlement des centrales nucléaires
Policies, Strategies and Costs
This report, based upon data provided by 26 countries and analysed by government and industry experts, covers a variety of reactor types and sizes. The findings on decommissioning cost elements and driving factors in their variance will be of interest to analysts and policy makers in the nuclear energy field. (2003)

The Decommissioning and Dismantling of Nuclear Facilities: Status, Approaches, Challenges Déclassement et démantèlement des installations nucléaires
This companion booklet to the compilation of national fact sheets provides, in non-specialist terminology, a concise overview of the status of D&D of nuclear facilities and of the associated issues in NEA member countries. The booklet summarises the consensus on key points from the point of view of operators, regulators and policy-makers involved in D&D of nuclear facilities and those representing local communities likely to be affected by the shutdown of such facilities. (2002)

Environmental Remediation of Uranium Production Facilities: A Joint NEA/IAEA Report
This report provides a summary of the most relevant issues and practices in remediation programmes or uranium production facilities and an overview of activities and plans in reporting countries. It covers the areas of site characterisation, dismantling and decommissioning, waste management facilities, water remediation, long-term stewardship and monitoring, policies and regulations, and costs. (2002)

Decontamination Techniques Used in Decommissioning Activities: A Report by the NEA Task Group on Decontamination
This overview of decontamination techniques is intended to describe some of the critical elements involved in choosing techniques to address practical decontamination problems. (1999)

A proposed standardised list of items for costing purposes in the decommissioning of nuclear installations (interim technical document)
Various international studies of decommissioning project costs have shown that there are substantial variations in cost estimates for individual installations. Studies attempting to understand the reasons for these differences have been somewhat hampered by the fact that different types of costing methods are used, having different data requirements. (1999)

Recycling and Reuse of Scrap Metals: A Report by a Task Group of the NEA Co-operative Programme on Decommissioning
Concrete, steel and other valuable materials comprise a large portion of the waste generated by decommissioning activities. The inherent value of these materials and the need to reduce waste directed to radioactive disposal facilities makes recovery through some form of decontamination a prudent, if not necessary, undertaking. (1996)

Related links

IAEA RasaNet: Safe Decommissioning of Installations with Radioactive Substances
Work programme of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

European Commission DG-Energy & Transport Department of Nuclear Safety, Regulation and Radioactive Waste Management - Decommissioning of Nuclear Installations

Last updated: 19 November 2007