Mission of the project
Development of technology for decommissioning nuclear power plants in Japan has been undertaken in cooperation between the government, research organizations and private companies as well as in partnership with overseas organizations. And, development of basic technology is believed to have been almost completed. The validation tests performed in the past 30 years by the former Nuclear Power Engineering Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “NUPEC”) played an important role in such technological development.
These activities were worked out into “Decommissioning Technology Handbook: Decontamination, Dismantling and Re-use” by the Comprehensive Research Committee concerning Decommissioning Technology (Chairman: Kenkichi Ishigure, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo) formed in the former NUPEC. Moreover, technical challenges were picked up to formulate light water reactor decommissioning program, and to define a study path (roadmap) for solving problems.
The activities of the former NUPEC have been succeeded to the IAE. Also, IAE, itself, has research and study experience on decommissioning for past 30 years and has accumulated knowledge & findings in various areas. Merging the accomplishments of former NUPEC and previous IAE activities, research and study is continuing on specific issues necessary for smooth implementation of light water reactor decommissioning with the renewed 4
“Research and Study Committee concerning Nuclear Power Reactors Decommissioning in the 21st Century” (Chairman: Kenkichi Ishigure, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo). Those outcomes and relevant information are provided to the government and the industry.
A few commercial nuclear power plants are in decommissioning stage in Japan, and preparation for dismantling work is underway. Several light water reactors are expected to be decommissioned in 2020s and 2030s.
Japan is now facing a crucial challenge of decommissioning the damaged reactors after the Fukushima nuclear accident. Every endeavor towards safe decommissioning is now underway, including stable cooling, management of contaminated water and materials, securing those storage places, removal and transportation of spent fuel, and decommissioning, etc.
As decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi NPS is an unusual project of decommissioning the damaged reactors due to accident, a special task force was established to tackle this difficult project including the government, Tokyo Electric Power Company and others. IAE did a research on the contaminated water issue entrusted by the government. In the future, in difficult work such as removal of fuel debris for full-fledged decommissioning activities, the group will contribute to the decontamination, recovery and decommissioning activities in Fukushima, with the knowledge and experiences accumulated through the past activities, in addition to the Safety Analysis Group’s simulation 5
Fukushima prefecture is establishing the “Centre for Environmental Creation” which will be a key facility for research, study and education for recovery of the environment, which IAE is also supporting to Fukushima prefecture towards its objective.
Issues related to future decommissioning projects
- Review of the existing decommissioning scheme (including scenarios, financial provisions for decommissioning, etc.)
- Formulation of standards, guidelines and guides for decommissioning
- Study and evaluation of major dismantling and 6 decontamination techniques
- Sharing information (radiation data) concerning decommissioning, lessons learned from implementation of decommissioning, etc.
- Existing decommissioning framework and Fukushima accident reactors decommissioning
- Regulations for low-level radioactive waste disposal
- Regulations for handling spent nuclear fuel
- Waste management methodologies (radioactive wastes, non-radioactive wastes and hazardous wastes)
- Review of safety regulations in regards to liberalization of electricity market
- System engineering for safe and efficient decommissioning
- Study on the final forms of NPS sites at the time of completion of decommissioning
- Disclosure of the decommissioning information to the public (transparency, accountability)
|Takanori Tanaka, Executive Director|