6 Occupational Safety and Health Requirements
Download citation file:
- Ris (Zotero)
- Reference Manager
Decommissioning of nuclear facilities requires attention not only to radiation safety but also to other safety requirements collectively referred to as occupational safety and health (OSH). As a general rule, a safety assessment is the initial phase of both radiation safety and OSH. The safety assessment identifies significant hazards during the decommissioning phase of a nuclear facility that are not normally encountered during the operational phase. Hazardous materials are major factors in the decommissioning of old nuclear facilities and represent a risk to the operators undertaking the work. Examples of common hazardous materials are lead, asbestos, PCBs, mercury, and beryllium. All require special disposal. The handling and disposal of mixed (hazardous and radioactive) wastes can pose special problems since, unlike radioactive materials with a relatively short half life, hazardous chemicals may pose a health hazard for a much longer (if not indefinite) time. If decommissioning will be long deferred, due regard should be given to the gradual deterioration of structures, systems, and components.
Upon permanent shutdown, a facility should undertake a critical review of all site records (paper, microfilm, and electronic formats) and should resist the initial urge to eliminate records used “for operations only.” Records are critical assets for decommissioning planning; their maintenance and accessibility should preclude any decision as to reductions in related site staffing.
Decommissioning normally follows deactivation, and often is followed by long-term storage with S&M. A long time may pass between facility operation, deactivation, and final decommissioning. The S&M activities focus on monitoring and controlling any remaining hazardous substances or contamination and maintaining the facility's structural integrity. In some cases, facility operations may be temporarily suspended, then indefinitely shut down, establishing an S&M phase by default.