The removal of fuel from a permanently shutdown nuclear facility eliminates the major source of radiological hazard, a nuclear criticality. Combined with the cessation of operations at high temperatures and pressures, the risk to public health and to the environment is thereby very significantly reduced. The process of decommissioning does however necessitate processes involving both conventional and radiological hazards such as the cutting and dismantling of structures, plant and equipment and the use of explosive cutting techniques. Some radiological hazards remain because of the possibility of coming into contact with radioactively contaminated or activated material.
This report considers how regulatory arrangements are being adapted to the continuously changing environment, and associated risk levels in a nuclear facility that is being decommissioned. It uses examples of current practices in several countries with large decommissioning programmes to illustrate emerging regulatory trends.