9 Initial Decommissioning Planning and Project Management
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- Ris (Zotero)
- Reference Manager
Initial decommissioning planning occurs, whether intended or not, before the decision is made to permanently cease operations. The initial planning assessments completed by the facility owner are defined to generate specific and sufficient information, including costs related to continuing operation for specific time periods, ceasing operation by a specific date, and determining the type of decommissioning to pursue and a start date for preliminary activities. Key decisions finalized early in the planning process to make for a safe and cost effective project.
There are many examples of nuclear facilities where a determination was made to cease operations for an indeterminate time period, while assessments regarding the facility's future use were completed. Examples include the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Fast Flux Test Facility remaining in hot standby until early 2003 (Lanais 1993), and Millstone Unit 1, a commercial nuclear reactor now in safe storage. In some cases, initial decommissioning studies are performed while a facility is in this shutdown pre-decision mode, A commercial power reactor facility in hot standby requires considerable expenditures to satisfy the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requirements so that the facility might be returned to operation at a reasonable cost without re-testing equipment. This approach is costly since no operational benefits are derived but costs near operating level continue. The costs may be significantly less for small DOE reactors, and may be much less than normal operating costs for non-reactor facilities.
Though not required before starting decommissioning activities, determining the ultimate end-state of the facility and the site is a critical decision. Substantially different approaches may be implemented for a facility that will be remediated for potential residential use (greenfield) than for one that is to be partially demolished for potential industrial reuse (brownfield). In the greenfield approach, almost everything with discernible radioactive contamination would likely be removed and shipped off site for disposal. In the brownfield approach there are more options. For example, only some of the high radioactive content structures and components may be dismantled for off site disposal. Only a portion of the above- and below-grade structures might also be removed, along with some of the contaminated soil beneath. While above-grade portions of buildings on a brownfield site may be demolished, their foundations may remain in place with little or no decontamination. Structures intended for reuse might have their internal radioactive components removed and the remaining interior surfaces decontaminated to sufficiently suitable limits to allow unrestricted reuse of the remaining space.