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Decommissioning techniques

In decommissioning, it is important to use mature, reliable technologies that satisfy the requirements of safety, radiation protection and swift project implementation. Technologies are required for various processes: decontamination, dismantling and disassembling of components and buildings.

Research centres, universities and industry have therefore developed a range of conventional dismantling and decontamination techniques for use in the decommissioning of nuclear facilities and have adapted these techniques to the specific demands of radiation protection and nuclear safety. Some technologies had to be refined so that they can also be operated by remote control.

The techniques used are chosen by the operator of the facility. The selection is based on various criteria, such as information about the level and type of radioactivity in the various components or rooms. In making his selection, the operator refers to the contamination and activation data for all systems and rooms, which are obtained on a continuous basis from sampling and measuring during radiological characterisation. 

Technology selection criteria:

  • radiation protection: above all, minimising workers’ radiation exposure
  • technical suitability, speed and cost-effectiveness of the process
  • minimisation of secondary waste
  • clearance of residues and components, reduction of the volume of radioactive waste
  • spatial conditions.

The selection and application of technologies are supervised by the competent authority and its technical experts.