Although the state-of-the-art technology for decommissioning nuclear research reactors is probably adequate to cope with most difficulties associated with the dismantling of such facilities, it is generally imperative to improve, adapt or optimise technologies for the specific needs of the reactor to be dismantled. Learning from others rather than re-inventing the wheel makes sense in today’s globalisation context. This approach is expected to match the needs of many developing countries. The objective of the IAEA’s Co-ordinated Research Project (CRP) on Decommissioning Techniques for Research Reactors was to promote the exchange of information on the practical experience gained by Member States in decommissioning or operation, maintenance, and refurbishment activities which would be eventually related to the decommissioning of research reactors. Special emphasis was given to the development/adaptation of methods and approaches for optimisation of the decommissioning process. Fourteen institutions from thirteen Member States of the IAEA took part in this CRP that lasted from 1997 to 2002. It is felt that the IAEA project succeeded in transferring information and know-how from active decommissioning projects to those planning for decommissioning. It is also expected that this project will draw Member States’ attention to the need for timely planning for and implementation of decommissioning. In some Member States there are research reactors that are kept in an extended state of shutdown, pending decisions on continued operation, extensive refurbishment or decommissioning. This situation — which frequently lasts for many years — weighs heavily on staff morale and motivation, state resources, entails deterioration of structures and components, and may in the longer term have very serious safety implications. The IAEA project is expected to offer the Member States the opportunity of considering financial and other impacts of decommissioning research reactors, so that decommissioning actions can be initiated without undue delay. Aspects such as fuel and waste management and provisions for other technical, administrative and financial resources require timely preparation.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.