Nuclear reactor decommissioning continues to remain at the forefront of the energy and defence industries as many reactors built from the 1940s to the 1970s are reaching the end of their life cycles. As demand for decommissioning increases, the focus on worker’s health and safety has become paramount. This focus on worker safety, coupled with the unique challenges faced in reactor decommissioning, continues to promote the use of remote equipment in the decommissioning process. New technologies available in the market today have also created new opportunities for the implementation and application of remote equipment for reactor decommissioning. These technologies include: carbon fibre, high pressure liquid cutting, and advanced control packages. Also, the methods for remote deployment of existing decommissioning technologies such as flame cutting, shearing, and heavy equipment continue to evolve. This paper will focus on the use of this technology at the following facilities: the decommissioning of the Rancho Seco reactor in California, the Brookhaven graphite research reactor in New York, the Windscale Pile 1 Reactor in the United Kingdom, and the Fort St. Vrain HTG Reactor in Colorado. These have all used remote equipment and emerging technologies to solve complex problems in nuclear reactor decommissioning. The purpose is this paper is to outline some of the challenges associated with reactor decommissioning, describe new technologies and deployment techniques being used in the decommissioning field, and to provide an overview of projects using these new technologies.

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