ISOE Working Group on Radiological Protection Aspects of Decommissioning Activities at Nuclear Power Plants (WGDECOM)


Decommissioning of nuclear power plants is a subject of growing importance for NEA member countries and will represent significant budgets and industrial activities in the future. Through various joint projects of the NEA, much experience has been gained in the technical aspects of decommissioning and dismantling, including providing for the safety of workers, the public and the environment. However, a number of challenges and uncertainties remain, particularly in field of occupational radiation protection (ORP) during the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. A joint ISOE / CPD topical session on decommissioning was organized on 5 November 2014 to discuss a proposal to establish of a new joint working group with the primary objective to discuss trends and areas that need to be studied further.

The topical session noted the differences in composition of membership in each joint project, approaches to dissemination of information, facility types of concern, etc. It was also indicated in session presentations that data and experience from decommissioning is limited compared to normal operations. For this proposed work, knowledge transfer and information collection are a priority. The topical session recommended the creation of an ISOE working group with participation of experts from the Technical Advisory Group of CPD to focus on areas such as data collection, regulatory differences, other hazards involved, the change of safety culture (particularly for contractors), the steady modification of circumstances during decommissioning, techniques used in dismantling, waste segregation, etc. With this input during its meeting in November 2014, the ISOE Management Board discussed the proposal and approved the establishment of an ISOE working group on radiological protection aspects of decommissioning / dismantling activities in nuclear power plants to be addressed in the coming years. Thus, according to the current context, there is a need for a network of radiological protection (RP) experts in order to discuss RP and related issues relevant to such activities. It would primarily focus on practical case studies and expert discussions that would help to identify good practices in the field of ORP during decommissioning, and would favour benchmarking activities. Ideally, this work could help to structure a database for nuclear power plant (NPP) decommissioning works (such as individual-, job- and collective dose resulting in good decommissioning practices depending on the particular decontamination and dismantling processes, type of plant and radiological conditions). 

It is proposed that the working group meet twice a year for two days and if feasible, host it at a site performing decommissioning activities.

Objective of the group

The objective of the Working Group on Radiological Aspects of Decommissioning Activities in Nuclear Power Plants is to provide a forum for experts to develop a process within the Information System on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) programme to better share operational RP data and experience for NPPs in some stage of decommissioning, or in preparation for decommissioning. The working group will report regularly to the ISOE Management Board and will:

  • identify the areas of operational RP for NPPs planning decommissioning or in the process of decommissioning that are most relevant for effective  management of occupational exposure;
  • identify the operational data that can be collected through the ISOE databases in order to suggest trends and aspects that can be studied and used for benchmarking as a starting point for more in-depth analyses;
  • identify the areas of operational RP that would, through the exchange of experience, most effectively facilitate good management and international consensus on effective occupational exposure practices;
  • identify a network of operational RP experts at NPPs who are planning decommissioning or who are in the process of decommissioning for the ISOE Management Board to see how they can be integrated into the ISOE programme to effectively exchange occupational exposure management experience;
  • identify factors and aspects that play key roles in achieving good practices in decommissioning (knowledge and historical memory, experience, technology, regulatory requirements and guidance, worker involvement, information exchange and networking, etc.), and analysing and quantifying their possible impact on occupational doses and operational costs;
  • report regularly to the management board of the ISOE programme.

The working group will manage all identified work which has been proposed by the ISOE Management Board and will report regularly on the status of all such work to the ISOE programme.