Conference Proceedings Paper
PLANNING FOR DECOMMISSIONING IN UK NUCLEAR NEW BUILD
3rd Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Decommissioning and Environmental Restoration - 2016 Sept. 11-14
T. Withey (Nuvia Group)
When submitting designs for regulatory approval in the United Kingdom, reactor vendors are required to ensure that the whole plant lifecycle has been considered; not just build and operation. A specific requirement relates to decommissioning and in particular demonstrating that such activities can be performed safely, many decades in the future.
As experience demonstrates, there are significant technical challenges relating to decommissioning of commercial reactors. Furthermore, the UK regulatory regime presents additional challenges in terms of the demonstration that risks from decommissioning are reduced So Far As Is Reasonably Practicable (SFAIRP).
In addition, potential operators of these proposed reactors are required to have sufficient financial arrangements in place to fund decommissioning, waste management and various other costs relating to end of reactor life. This is demonstrated through the submission of a Funded Decommissioning Programme (FDP), before commencement of construction.
Such challenges must be met by any organisation looking to build and/or operate reactors within the UK. An important ‘tool’ in meeting such challenges is the use of previous experience of decommissioning in the UK. For example, what is deemed to be good practice in one country may not necessarily be considered good practice in another. Such experience is invaluable in supporting reactor vendors and utilities who may lack such an awareness and understanding of UK regulation and good practice.
This paper highlights some of those key challenges and how they can be overcome. Vital experience from both a design for decommissioning and a programme management point of view has already been gained from projects in the UK and this paper describes how some very novel problems have been solved.
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