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Decommissioning Planning for Research Reactors in Focus at IAEA Workshop

Participants in a workshop on decommissioning planning for research reactors held in August 2018. (IAEA)

The need for research reactor operators and regulators to prepare for safe decommissioning already when they start planning to build a reactor was highlighted at a workshop on decommissioning planning for research reactors held 27-31 August 2018 in Vienna.

The workshop underlined the need to create a decommissioning plan while developing a reactor design, and to update this plan during the reactor’s operation. The 37 participants from operating organizations and regulatory bodies in 32 countries shared experiences and discussed topics including what factors should be considered when updating decommissioning plans.

“Good operational practices, in line with the IAEA safety standards, such as configuration management, including design and operation of experimental facilities, as well as training of personnel, are vital for facilitating eventual decommissioning safely,” Greg Rzentkowski, IAEA Director for Division of Nuclear Installation Safety, said in his opening remarks.

Christophe Xerri, IAEA Director of the Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology underlined the importance of estimating decommissioning costs and securing funding. “Research reactors also need to pay attention in managing the transition from operation to decommissioning,” he said. 

Research reactors are often used for research education and training, testing materials or the production of radioisotopes for medicine and industry. The IAEA assists its Member States in enhancing the safety, operation and utilization performance of research reactors including by developing safety standards and technical guidelines, conducting safety-focused peer reviews and advisory services and organizing technical meetings, training courses and workshops.

Last update: 06 Apr 2020

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