Decommissioning strategy, practice and issues16-20

23.4.1 Decommissioning strategy

The basic policy for decommissioning commercial NPPs was established by the JAEC in 1982. It states that retired commercial NPPs should be disman­tled as early as possible after shutdown and the site should be effectively re-used for next generation NPP. The Framework for Nuclear Energy Policy issued by the JAEC states that it is the operator’s own responsibility, but under government regulation, to carry out decommissioning of a nuclear facility, ensuring safety, while obtaining local communities’ understanding and cooperation.

The regulatory policy for dismantling or decommissioning reactor facili­ties has been discussed by the NSC. To ensure safety during decommission­ing of commercial NPPs, the regulation was implemented by applying existing provisions in the Reactor Regulation Law by the operators. To date, decommissioning of reactor facilities has been implemented at facili­ties such as the JPDR of the JAEA and the Tokai-1 NPP of JAPC, the development and application of dismantling technologies have progressed, and know-how for decommissioning has been accumulated. The NSC examined the idea of ideal safety regulation, based on the experience of decommissioning of nuclear facilities. It also took into consideration the features of nuclear facilities post-termination and the level of potential risks.

The Decommissioning Safety Subcommittee has investigated the appro­priate regulation systems for decommissioning, based on regulatory experi­ences of decommissioning reactor facilities. The Decommissioning Safety Subcommittee proposed the decommissioning regulations as: [38]

On the basis of such recognition, the Reactor Regulation Law was amended in 2005. A licensee applying for approval of decommissioning has to submit a decommissioning plan that describes, for example dismantling methods, radiation controls, safety assessment and the financial plans. The regulatory body approves the decommissioning plan after examining its conformity with technical standards. At the final stage of decommissioning, the licensee submits a document that describes the implementation status of dismantling, management of contaminated materials and the final distri­bution of contamination and requests the regulatory body’s confirmation. The decommissioning is completed after the regulatory body confirms that the measures for radiation hazard prevention are no longer necessary and management of contaminated materials is completed.

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