International Workshop on Chemical Hazards in Fuel Cycle Facilities Nuclear Processing

Hosted by the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)


Working under the mandate of the CSNI, the objective of the WGFCS is to advance the understanding for regulators, technical support organisations (TSOs) and operators of relevant aspects of nuclear fuel cycle safety in NEA member countries.

The objective of this workshop was to discuss and review national activities, safety and regulatory approaches for managing chemical hazards at fuel cycle facilities (FCFs), the effectiveness of these activities, and areas for improvement.


The chemical forms of nuclear material used in FCFs as well as the chemicals and processes used in nuclear material processing can introduce chemical toxicity hazards as well as reactive chemical hazards. A wide variety of chemical hazards is considered in the design, construction, operation and decommissioning of FCF’s.

In 2011, the WGFCS held a workshop, “Safety Assessment of Fuel Cycle Facilities – Regulatory Approaches and Industry Perspectives.” Recommendations from this workshop recognised the importance of the impact of chemical hazards on safety assessments of FCFs. Additionally, the WGFCS members agreed that there was a benefit for the fuel cycle community to identify best practices for chemical safety within the nuclear industry and other industrial sectors, such as the chemical industry.

Scope and content

FCFs should be designed and operated in a manner that ensures that the risks of hazardous chemical exposure, corrosion, fire, explosion and contamination are controlled and minimised. The evaluation of chemical risks for FCFs is important to the safety of nuclear processing. Consequently, assurance of safety requires control of both the chemical and nuclear hazards.

Chemical safety hazards can occur across the spectrum of FCFs including uranium conversion facilities, uranium enrichment facilities, all types of fuel fabrication facilities, irradiated material processing facilities and waste management operations.

The workshop discussed potential regulatory issues involving chemical processing of nuclear materials operations as well as safety issues regarding accidents prevention and mitigation of the potential consequences (chemical and possibly radiological) for the workers, the public and the environment.