Decommissioning of nuclear facilities is a complex process involving operations such as detailed surveys, decontamination and dismantling of equipment’s, demolition of buildings and management of resulting waste and nuclear materials if any. This process takes place in a well-developed legal framework and is controlled and followed-up by stakeholders like the Safety Authority, the Radwaste management Agency and the Safeguards Organism.
In the framework of its nuclear waste and decommissioning program and more specifically the decommissioning of the BR3 reactor, SCK•CEN has developed different software tools to secure the waste and material traceability, to support the sound management of the decommissioning project and to facilitate the control and the follow-up by the stakeholders. In the case of Belgium, it concerns the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control, the National Agency for radioactive waste management and fissile material and EURATOM and IAEA.
In 2005, BELGONUCLEAIRE decided to shutdown her Dessel MOX fuel fabrication plant and the production stopped in 2006. According to the final decommissioning plan (“PDF”) approved by NIRAS, the decommissioning works should start in 2008 at the earliest. In 2006, the management of BELGONUCLEAIRE identified the need for an integrated database and decided to entrust SCK•CEN with its development, because SCK•CEN relies on previous experience in comparable applications namely already approved by authorities such as NIRAS, FANC and EURATOM.
The main objectives of this integrated software tool are:
• simplified and updated safeguards
• waste & material traceability
• computerized documentation
• support to project management
• periodic & final reporting to waste and safety authorities.
The software called DASAO (Database for Safeguards, Waste and Decommissioning) was successfully commissioned in 2008 and extensively used from 2009 to the satisfaction of BELGONUCLEAIRE and the stakeholders.
SCK•CEN is now implementing a simplified release of the software for the management of the decommissioning of the THETIS reactor. Its decommissioning will start in March 2013 and will be completed by the end of 2014.