Managing the legacies from the past nuclear activities is an issue of increasing global concern. A JRC report looks into the drivers that allow implementing decommissioning and environmental remediation programmes.
Significant progress has been indeed achieved in recent years in terms of addressing the legacy from the early development of nuclear energy. Some countries are quite advanced with decommissioning and have built up appropriate technical resources and expertise. Nevertheless many national programmes still face very significant challenges.
To better understand the global situation and to analyse the barriers that some countries experience, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) launched in 2013 the Constraints to Implementing Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation (CIDER) project, with the involvement of the European Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), among others.
The JRC report, prepared in close collaboration with the IAEA, provides comprehensive proposals on how to move forward in decommissioning and environmental remediation programmes. The findings are based on results of a global survey and subsequent extensive analysis provided by experts through the CIDER project.
Decommissioning of a nuclear facility refers to all technical and administrative actions leading to the release the facility from regulatory control. The process covers preliminary analysis and preparations, clean-up, decontamination works and dismantling works, segregation and packaging of radioactive and non-radioactive waste and final radiological monitoring. The end-point may allow the facility to be used for other purposes or may result in the complete structural demolition of the facility.