Recycling and Reuse of Materials Arising from the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities

Large quantities of materials arising from the decommissioning of nuclear facilities are non-radioactive per se. An additional significant share of materials is of very low-level or low-level radioactivity and can, after having undergone treatment and a clearance process, be recycled and reused in a restricted or unrestricted way. Recycle and reuse options today provide valuable solutions to minimise radioactive waste from decommissioning and at the same time maximise the recovery of valuable materials. The NEA Co-operative Programme on Decommissioning (CPD) prepared this overview on the various approaches being undertaken by international and national organisations for the management of slightly contaminated material resulting from activities in the nuclear sector. The report draws on CPD member organisations’ experiences and practices related to recycling and reuse, which were gathered through an international survey. It provides information on improvements and changes in technologies, methodologies and regulations since the 1996 report on this subject, with the conclusions and recommendations taking into account 20 years of additional experience that will be useful for current and future practitioners. Case studies are provided to illustrate significant points of interest, for example in relation to scrap metals, concrete and soil.