The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) established criteria for acceptable residual radioactivity related to decommissioning nuclear power plants in the US [1]. A level of 25 mRem per year to the maximum exposed individual by site-specific pathways analysis, with ALARA is acceptable to the NRC. Systems and structures containing very low levels of radioactivity that meet this criteria are deemed acceptable to abandon in place as part of the decommissioning process and termination of the license. Upon license termination by the NRC, the owner may then demolish and remove remaining structures. In practice, site-specific criteria imposed by local state mandates, company management decisions, real estate value, and long-term liability potential have driven nuclear plant licensees to adopt an alternative disposition for these materials. Although the reasons are different at each site, the NRC’s criteria of 25 mRem per year are not the controlling factor. This paper will describe the regulatory process for termination of the license, and the other factors that drive the decision to remove radioactive and non-radioactive material for decommissioning. Several case histories are presented to illustrate that the NRC’s criteria for license termination are not the only consideration.

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