The premature cessation of operations at several large commercial reactors in the United States has created for the owners of these facilities an accelerated liability for decommissioning. A majority of the owners of these facilities, however, still elected to proceed with immediate dismantling, even though, in many instances, the adequacy of the available funding had not been established. With limited financial resources, project success often depends upon the ability of the owner to address and resolve project encumbrances, regulatory constraints and the growth of the work scope in an expeditious and cost-effective manner. The common lesson-learned recognized in the performance of these major projects over the last 15 years, is that planning for decommissioning needs to be started earlier and include a comprehensive cost analysis so as to facilitate post-shutdown activities. This paper will summarize the processes used to identify and quantify decommissioning liabilities in the US, as well as in other countries. In particular, the objectives in developing a cost estimate will be explored, the types of estimates discussed, and the need to integrate the estimate within the ongoing planning for decommissioning. Strategic cost considerations will be identified, as well as their impact on the financial resources required. Case studies will be presented, identifying both similarities and differences in purpose and in scope. The paper will discuss the key planning tools, for example, facility characterization assessments for radiological, hazardous and toxic contaminates. Program management is the single largest expense incurred in plant decommissioning since it is a highly regulated and controlled process. However, in most instances, the oversight of decommissioning operations requires only a fraction of the original operating organization. This paper will explore the need to streamline and transition the operating staff to one that can effectively support decommissioning activities while minimizing the overall expense. Waste conditioning and disposal is a major technical, as well as financial element, in the facility decommissioning. The availability and cost of regional and national disposal facilities is a key consideration in the options selected for decommissioning, including timing, approach and methods selected. The formation and integration of a waste management strategy will be discussed along with the sensitivity of the decommissioning cost and schedule to the strategy selected. The paper will conclude with several observations relating to the need to include financial planning in any decommissioning evaluation, a discussion of lessons-learned from ongoing decontamination and dismantling projects, and common misconceptions. Recommendations will be offered for owners of those facilities currently considering decommissioning, as well as those in the early planning stage.
- Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
Decommissioning Liabilities and Cost Considerations
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Cloutier, WA. "Decommissioning Liabilities and Cost Considerations." Proceedings of the ASME 2003 9th International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation. 9th ASME International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation: Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Oxford, England. September 21–25, 2003. pp. 791-797. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICEM2003-4890
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