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International Conference on Nuclear Decommissioning: Addressing the Past and Ensuring the Future

15–19 May 2023, Vienna, Austria

Conference on Nuclear Decommissioning: Addressing the Past and Ensuring the Future 2023


Decommissioning is the final stage in the lifecycle of any nuclear and radiological facility. Sustainability and circular economy principles demand that it be implemented safely, in a cost effective and environmentally sensitive manner and taking into account the future uses of the site.

There are valuable lessons to be learned from completed and ongoing decommissioning projects, covering a wide variety of facilities (educational and research facilities, fuel cycle facilities, research reactors and nuclear power plants), including decommissioning of facilities which experienced nuclear or radiological incidents and accidents.

The growing decommissioning demand worldwide will benefit from already completed and ongoing projects, but the increasing number of facilities to be decommissioned concurrently in the coming decades raises new challenges in terms of the infrastructure, resources and expertise needed to support their decommissioning.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of the event is to discuss achievements, challenges and lessons learned in the decommissioning of nuclear facilities, highlighting current priority needs and sharing information on strategies and approaches that enhance safe, secure and cost-effective implementation of programmes. The event will aim to raise awareness of the importance of addressing decommissioning as part of a sustainable future, supporting optimal use of the resources needed for implementation, enabling further development of sites, and providing relevant knowledge and inputs for new facilities under design or construction.

Themes and Topics

The following topics will be addressed during the conference:

Track 1- Infrastructure and frameworks for effective and efficient decommissioning

This track will consider national policies and strategies, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks (including decision making processes), financing mechanisms, integrated waste management and transportation systems and specific education and training infrastructure that need to be in place to enable and support the implementation of decommissioning programmes. Decommissioning is currently being implemented in many countries, and therefore wide experience already exists concerning the necessary infrastructure and frameworks to support these programmes.

Keynote topics may include:

  • Establishing national frameworks for decommissioning
  • Establishing an integrated waste management and transportation system to support decommissioning
  • Creating an integrated approach to competence building, including policies and strategies for research and development, education and training

Track 2 - Planning and preparing for decommissioning

This track will consider the planning and preparatory activities to be undertaken prior to commencement of decommissioning. Issues to be addressed will include: organizational approaches to conducting decommissioning as well as emerging contracting models such as licence transfer to specialist decommissioning organizations, cost estimation, human resource planning, procurement processes, assessment of facility conditions (including initial characterization surveys) and safety assessment of proposed decommissioning actions, radioactive waste and materials management needs, available technologies for decommissioning implementation and associated research and development needs, licensing procedures and communication plans. The session will also cover forward planning by regulatory bodies in preparation for oversight of decommissioning implementation, evaluating staffing needs including the required competences, and procedures for oversight of implementation.

Keynote topics may include:

  • Planning for decommissioning during a facility’s lifecycle
  • Application of the graded approach to decommissioning
  • Transition from operation to decommissioning and efficient preparation of decommissioning activities
  • Cost estimation for decommissioning including consideration of uncertainties within and beyond the defined project scope
  • Addressing uncertainties in scenario planning due to insufficient information (e.g., as regards inventory and facility condition), including the implications of potential major changes to the external environment (out-of-scope risks)
  • Stakeholder involvement including timely communication between licensee and regulatory body for building confidence and obtaining social acceptance for decommissioning projects and site reuse.

Track 3 - Implementing decommissioning projects

This track will consider current good practice in the implementation of decommissioning projects, providing opportunities for sharing experiences in discussing technical, regulatory or other challenges, including those gained from dealing with unexpected situations during decommissioning. Good practices in project management will be discussed, including relationships with the supply chain and management of project uncertainties and risks. Technology-specific decommissioning challenges (e.g., for sodium-cooled fast reactors and for graphite-moderated reactors) will be considered. Experiences from decommissioning projects being implemented in the aftermath of incidents or accidents will also be addressed, including consideration of relevant lessons learned and innovations developed to deal with such situations and that may be beneficial to other decommissioning projects.

Keynote topics may include:

  • Project management approaches (oversight of contractors, project risk management, key performance indicators to track and steer progress etc.)
  • Technical and regulatory challenges and issues for decommissioning implementation (including management of decommissioning waste)
  • Systems applied to ensure continuous improvement
  • Use of latest technologies, including those developed to implement decommissioning under incident/accident-impacted conditions and now having wider applicability.

Track 4 - Completing decommissioning projects

The track will consider the process of defining the decommissioning end state and the subsequent demonstration of its achievement, including determination of the physical, radiological, and other relevant conditions of the site and remaining structures at the end of decommissioning. The methods and approaches required to demonstrate compliance with relevant end state objectives and criteria will be discussed, including those to reach the agreed end state, radiological surveys and reporting of the final radiological condition and associated regulatory activities. For the case of site release with restrictions on future uses, the institutional measures and controls to be implemented after completion of decommissioning will be considered. The decision-making process related to end state determination, including involvement of stakeholders and considerations of the intended reuse (e.g. general, industrial, nuclear) will be discussed.

Keynote topics may include:

  • Regulatory framework, site release criteria and procedures to make sites available for new uses, including scenarios of staged release or partial release with ongoing nuclear use of the remaining site (e.g. on multifacility sites)
  • Procedures to demonstrate achievement of the agreed end state (including final survey and records for retention)
  • Stakeholder involvement in end the state definition and site release decision-making
  • End states for large nuclear sites with legacy facilities
  • Final project reporting

Track 5 – Perspectives on enhancing decommissioning effectiveness and efficiency

This track will consider innovations, including ongoing and planned research and development programmes and application of good practices and technologies from other industries, which would enable future and ongoing decommissioning projects to be implemented in a more sustainable manner. Lessons learned from ongoing projects suggest opportunities for a more effective and efficient decommissioning in the future, including decommissioning by design approach. Innovations, both technical and organizational, could contribute to achieving this objective. The management of assets, decommissioning of materials and waste in the context of circular economy principles, will also be discussed, including application of the waste hierarchy. Measures that may promote greater resilience in the supply chain and improved dialogue with stakeholders will be considered.

Keynote topics may include:

  • Improved knowledge management systems to capture lessons learned and facilitate their use in decommissioning projects
  • Development of new technologies and techniques, e.g. decontamination and dismantling technologies
  • Application of digitalization, robotics and related experiences from other industries
  • Facilitating international cooperation and information exchange in decommissioning projects, including harmonization of practices and associated standards
  • Decommissioning and waste management considerations at the design stage of facilities, including the new types of nuclear facilities (e.g. SMRs, fusion facilities)

Target Audience

The conference will be of interest to those involved in establishing national frameworks, planning, implementation and oversight of decommissioning projects, including both small and major radiological and nuclear facilities. Participants are expected to include policy makers, regulators, implementers, technical support organizations, waste management organizations, organizations which represent local community interests, industry representatives, research and academic institutions and international organizations with an interest in decommissioning.


A limited amount of space will be available for commercial vendors’ displays/exhibits during the conference. Interested parties should contact the Scientific Secretariat by email by 31 October 2022.

Key Deadlines and Dates

  • 29 March 2022: Opening of synopsis submission through IAEA-INDICO
  • 31 October 2022 14 November 2022: Submission of abstracts through IAEA-INDICO
  • 31 October 2022 14 November 2022: Deadline for submission of the Participation Form (Form A) and if applicable Form for Submission of a Paper (Form B) and the Grant Application Form (Form C), using the InTouch+ Platform
  • 20 December 2022: Notification of acceptance of abstracts for oral or poster presentation
  • 31 January 2023: Electronic submission of extended abstracts
  • No deadline: Registration only (no paper submission, no grant request) using Form A through the InTouch+ Platform
  • 15-19 May 2023: Conference dates


To demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, the IAEA will organize this conference as a 'green meeting' according to the guidelines of the Austrian Ecolabel.

There will be a focus on the areas of paper smart documentation, waste reduction and recycling, and environmentally friendly catering.

Conference app

The IAEA Conferences and Meetings App provides a one-stop access to information on the Conference, exhibitions and scheduled side events. The app also allows users to put together their own personalized schedule of events. Via this app participants will be able to view contributed papers and the latest conference programme, message other participants, and view PowerPoint presentations released after the event. Participants will receive an email inviting them to register for the app approximately one week before the conference.

For iPhone or iPad users, get your free download through the App Store; those with Android devices can visit the Google Play Store.

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