The Co-operative Programme on Decommissioning under the administration of the Radioactive Waste Management Committee of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has recently completed fifteen years of operation. The Programme, which is essentially an information exchange programme between decommissioning projects, came into being in 1985. It has grown from an initial 10 decommissioning projects from 7 countries to 39 projects from 14 countries today. It has, in later years, been functioning as a voice for the collective expression of views of the implementors of nuclear decommissioning.
During the first fifteen years of the operation of the Co-operative Programme, nuclear decommissioning has grown from local specialist activities to a competitive commercial industry. By the dismantling and release from regulatory control of a number of diverse nuclear facilities, the Programme has been able to demonstrate in practice, that nuclear decommissioning can be performed safely both for the workers and the public, and that this can be done at reasonable costs in an environmentally friendly fashion.
During the recent years, discussions and work within the Co-operative Programme, specially within some of the Task Groups, have had/are having effects and repercussions not just in the field of nuclear decommissioning, but can possibly affect activities and regulations in other industries.