Radiological protection aspects of decommissioning activities at nuclear power plants

AVR research reactor vessel in its current storage position after dismantling

AVR research reactor vessel in its current storage position after dismantling.

Established in 2014, the Working Group on Radiological Protection Aspects of Decommissioning Activities at Nuclear Power Plants (WGDECOM) unites over 20 experts from 12 countries in developing a process to better share radiological protection (RP) data and experience for nuclear power plants in some stage of decommissioning or in preparation for decommissioning.

Since its first briefing in 2015, the WGDECOM has held several meetings which included benchmarking visits to decommissioning sites in the United States, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland and France.

The 12th meeting of the WGDECOM was held on 11-14 October at the GRS gGmbH offices in Cologne, Germany. The meeting agenda was composed of four major components:

  1. Insight into the decommissioning process in Germany, including the authority's, operator's and TSO's views on regulatory requirements, RP and occupational exposure in decommissioning as well as experiences in pre-decommissioning full system decontamination, site clearance and free release.
  2. Technical benchmarking visit to the research centre in Jűlich, including familiarisation with research reactors AVR and FRJ-2 (DIDO) under decommissioning; a tour of the AVR reactor vessel in its "parking" position; a tour of the reactor hall as part of the insight into the decommissioning project of the FRJ-2 research reactor; and a general discussion on RP aspects and practices.
  3. Dedicated technical session on source term characterisation, including practices at EDF, France; radiological characterisation using accelerator mass spectrometry in Germany; characterisation in decommissioning in Switzerland; Palisades Nuclear Power Station (United States) real-time trending of primary coolant isotopics using permanent mounted 3D CZT spectrometers for final shutdown prior to decommissioning; and Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station radiological characterisation planning and implementation in the United States.
  4. Status and progress in the performance of the WGDECOM Programme of Work (2020-2023), including compliance with decisions, agreements, commitments, actions and recommendations from the previous WGDECOM meeting in November 2021.

The results were presented by the WGDECOM Vice Chairperson to the ISOE Management Board at its 32nd meeting in Boulogne-Billancourt on 5-7 December 2022.

To learn more about the WGDECOM, visit here. 

See also