Decommissioning of nuclear power plants is a subject of growing importance for NEA member countries and will represent significant budgets and industrial activities in the future. Through various joint projects of the NEA, much experience has been gained in the technical aspects of decommissioning and dismantling, including providing for the safety of workers, the public and the environment. However, a number of challenges and uncertainties remain, particularly in field of occupational radiation protection (ORP) during the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. A joint ISOE / CPD topical session on decommissioning was organized on 5 November 2014 to discuss a proposal to establish of a new joint working group with the primary objective to discuss trends and areas that need to be studied further.
The topical session noted the differences in composition of membership in each joint project, approaches to dissemination of information, facility types of concern, etc. It was also indicated in session presentations that data and experience from decommissioning is limited compared to normal operations. For this proposed work, knowledge transfer and information collection are a priority. The topical session recommended the creation of an ISOE working group with participation of experts from the Technical Advisory Group of CPD to focus on areas such as data collection, regulatory differences, other hazards involved, the change of safety culture (particularly for contractors), the steady modification of circumstances during decommissioning, techniques used in dismantling, waste segregation, etc. With this input during its meeting in November 2014, the ISOE Management Board discussed the proposal and approved the establishment of an ISOE working group on radiological protection aspects of decommissioning / dismantling activities in nuclear power plants to be addressed in the coming years. Thus, according to the current context, there is a need for a network of radiological protection (RP) experts in order to discuss RP and related issues relevant to such activities. It would primarily focus on practical case studies and expert discussions that would help to identify good practices in the field of ORP during decommissioning, and would favour benchmarking activities. Ideally, this work could help to structure a database for nuclear power plant (NPP) decommissioning works (such as individual-, job- and collective dose resulting in good decommissioning practices depending on the particular decontamination and dismantling processes, type of plant and radiological conditions).
It is proposed that the working group meet twice a year for two days and if feasible, host it at a site performing decommissioning activities.
The objective of the Working Group on Radiological Aspects of Decommissioning Activities in Nuclear Power Plants is to provide a forum for experts to develop a process within the Information System on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) programme to better share operational RP data and experience for NPPs in some stage of decommissioning, or in preparation for decommissioning. The working group will report regularly to the ISOE Management Board and will:
The working group will manage all identified work which has been proposed by the ISOE Management Board and will report regularly on the status of all such work to the ISOE programme.
The ISOE was launched in 1992 by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) to improve the management of occupational exposures at nuclear power plants through the collection and analysis of occupational exposure data and trends, and through the exchange of lessons learnt among utility and national regulatory authority experts. Since 1993, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has co-sponsored the ISOE programme, thus allowing the participation of utilities and authorities from non-NEA member countries.