Decommissioning of retired nuclear plants and facilities demands the proper management of the process, both for economic reasons and for retaining public confidence in the continued use of nuclear power for electricity generation. There are significant potential benefits, both economic and environmental, in recycling materials from retired nuclear facilities for new uses rather than disposing of them as radioactive waste. Although it is technically possible to decontaminate many retired nuclear components to reduce contamination levels to below those appropriate for free release into the public domain, there is some public unease at the prospect of formerly contaminated materials passing into unrestricted public use. Greater support for recycle can be achieved by converting decontaminated materials into products for new controlled uses, particularly within the nuclear industry. Irrespective of the future of nuclear power, the industry has a need for many new items such as waste containers, replacement components etc. Good economics can be achieved by decontaminating the materials and then using existing non-radioactive manufacturing facilities for fabrication of new components. Provided that materials have first been decontaminated to below unrestricted release levels, there is no objection in principle to using non-radioactive facilities for recycling and manufacturing activities, so long as the materials are properly tracked to prevent their uncontrolled release. Surface decontamination has an important role to play in these activities. Efficient and economic decontamination processes are needed to prepare materials for recycle. The EPRI DFDX Process is a process for achieving these objectives. Recent progress with this process is described.

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