We are having 23 units of nuclear power plants in operation and 5 units of nuclear power plants under construction in Korea as of September 2012. However, we don’t have any experience on shutdown permanently and decommissioning of nuclear power plants. There are only two research reactors being decommissioned since 1997. It is realized that improvement of the regulatory framework for decommissioning of nuclear facilities has been emphasized constantly from the point of view of IAEA’s safety standards. It is also known that IAEA will prepare the safety requirement on decommissioning of facilities; its title is the Safe Decommissioning of Facilities, General Safety Requirement Part 6.
According to the result of IAEA’s Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission to Korea in 2011, it was recommended that the regulatory framework should require decommissioning plans for nuclear installations to be constructed and operated and these plans should be updated periodically. In addition, after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March of 2011, preparedness for early decommissioning caused by an unexpected severe accident became important issues and concerns.
In this respect, it is acknowledged that the regulatory framework for decommissioning of nuclear facilities in Korea need to be improved. First of all, we focus on identifying the current status and relevant issues of regulatory framework for decommissioning of nuclear power plants compared to the IAEA’s safety standards in order to achieve our goal. And then the plan is established for improvement of regulatory framework for decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Korea. It is expected that if the things will go forward as planned, the revised regulatory framework for decommissioning could enhance the safety regime on the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Korea in light of international standards.