Nuclear Plant Decommissioning

This book covers all aspects related to the closure of the operating life of nuclear plants and fuel cycle facilities, and provides a description of all the activities and tools for a decision- making process and elements for expanding the most interesting aspects. Also outlined are activities pertaining to the closure of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Major attention is given to the challenges related to nuclear power plant decommissioning, since they are the greatest ones, and when specific challenges are present for other facilities these are introduced explicitly. Nuclear power plant decommissioning is a complex, long and highly technological activity, which cannot be compared on these terms with the construction of the installations, but presents similar challenges. In some countries, therefore, it is even called “de-construction”, because it is in many respects similar to the construction activity and, in addition, it deals with partly activated and contaminated structures. Activities will regard technological tools, industrial safety, environmental impact minimisation, licensing, safety analysis, structural analysis, etc. Other very aspects are short and long term planning, calculation of cash flow and financing. Aspects related to waste disposal and spent fuel strategy will be covered as well.

The complexity of this new challenge, involving each year a large number of additional installations, and the lack or scarcity of systematic and comprehensive textbooks has suggested the need for such a text, mainly based on decommissioning performed by SOGIN in the Italian nuclear power plants and on the technical documents published by UNO-IAEA and OECD-NEA.

In Italy SOGIN has the responsibility for the closure of all the nuclear activities that led ENEL (the former national utility) to operate four nuclear power plants. When, after a referendum held in 1987, all nuclear power plants were definitively shut down, two BWRs of different vintages (Garigliano and Caorso), one GCR Magnox (Latina) and one PWR (Trino) had been successfully operated for decades. The closure of all these plants (and, of course, of a number of other facilities, laboratories and pilot plants of ENEA) has put the Italian nuclear community, and in particular SOGIN, in the unique situation of having to deal with a large variety of nuclear plants, with the consequent possibility of comparing, and optimise, strategies and technological choices.

Decommissioning activities in Italy have not proceeded quickly. In order, to optimise financing and resources, they now are planned to be completed by the year 2020. The activities already performed and the efforts dedicated by a staff of nuclear engineers - with much experience in the nuclear field - to studying the various aspects of the problem have contributed to this text.

This book has also drawn a lot of information from various international activities that started slowly years ago (at the end of the ‘80s) and that are now increasing more and more. The most widely used references are those from the OECD-NEA, UNO-IAEA and the European Commission. They cover the results of working groups, special studies, comparisons of technologies, status reports in various countries, recommendations and legislation. The authors have made every effort to mention all the sources that have been used in the preparation of the book, but they apologise if some sources have not been appropriately identified.

Maurizio Cumo, Ugo Spezia, Ivo Tripputi
Technology, Cost Evaluation, Management, Regulation, Safety, Health and Environment Protection
Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Scuola di Specializzazione in Sicurezza e Protezione