Decommissioning of nuclear facilities (power reactors, fuel cycle plants, research facilities) until their remediation and clearance, is a global industrial challenge of the 21st century. The strategy implemented is specific to each country and depends on the reactor’s characteristics, regulatory and environmental protection policies, and radioactive waste management amongst other considerations.
In 2019, … reactor power plants (RPP) worldwide were stopped or under Decommissioning. By 2050, more than the half of today’s 400 GW nuclear capacity around the world is scheduled to be shut down.
Nuclear decommissioning encompasses all technical and management actions associated with ceasing operation of a nuclear installation and its subsequent dismantling to remove it from regulatory control, aiming at delivering an environmentally friendly end-product, in line with the ‘circular economy’, as promoted by the EU . Thereby, there is an increasing interest and also pressure from society that the principles of environmental sustainability are applied to all industrial activities, e.g. in line with the sustainable development agenda of the United Nations . This issue has strong ethical dimensions: the generations which gained benefit from the use of nuclear energy should, where reasonably practicable, not pass the burden of addressing the associated legacies to future generations
Decommissioning represents a crucial stage of the nuclear cycle and remain highly complex with. There are still very few demonstrations of decommissioning programs finalized on an industrial scale and if decommissioning activities reached a certain level of maturity, further technological development work is required, particularly aiming at improving performances, safety and waste minimization. Countries are facing many challenges, including high costs, difficulties in using innovative technologies or lack of resources. In this context, coordination between stakeholders is of utmost importance.
SHARE is built on a consultation process considering the needs and points of view of different stakeholders. The project will also consider the existing and emerging innovative techniques and solutions as well as the international best practices and advanced technologies in the field of decommissioning.
Three groups of stakeholders will be involved in establishing the roadmap for decommissioning research with different roles:
>SHARE consortium members: Overseeing the process, implementing consultations and updating the outcome along with the process,
>Expert Review Panel (ERP): A number of contact persons in different organizations with an interest in contributing to the process of establishing the roadmap by assessing, reviewing and complementing the overall outcome at different steps, and
>Community Stakeholders: Organizations identified by the SHARE project as interested in the roadmap; being willing to respond to requests for input along with the process of establishing the roadmap; and interested in implementing parts of the roadmap.
In addition, a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) is proposed to define research priorities and suggest targets that can be actually achieved in the field of decommissioning aiming at safety improvement, environmental impact minimisation and cost reduction. Non-technological issues are organised as cross-cutting activities (i.e. competence maintenance, education and training, dialogue with society regulators, etc.).
SHARE roadmap with the topics identified in the SRA will be developed for the forthcoming 10-15 years.