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File:Containment destruction.jpg

Example of decommissioning work underway.

File:Old RPV.jpg

The reactor pressure vessel being transported away from the site for burial.

Nuclear decommissioning is the process whereby a nuclear facility is dismantled to the point that it no longer requires measures for radiation protection. The presence of radioactive material necessitates processes that are occupationally dangerous, hazardous to the natural environment, expensive, and time-intensive.[1]

Decommissioning is an administrative and technical process. It includes clean-up of radioactive materials and progressive demolition of the plant. Once a facility is fully decommissioned, no radiologic danger should persist. The costs of decommissioning are spread over the lifetime of a facility and saved in a decommissioning fund.[2] After a facility has been completely decommissioned, it is released from regulatory control and the plant licensee is no longer responsible for its nuclear safety. Decommissioning may proceed all the way to "greenfield" status. Template:Toclimit


Nuclear decommissioning is the administrative and technical process whereby a nuclear facility such as a nuclear power plants (NPPs), a research reactor, an isotope production plant, a particle accelerator, or uranium mine is dismantled to the point that it no longer requires measures for radiation protection. The progressive demolition of buildings and removal of radioactive material is occupationally dangerous, hazardous to the natural environment, expensive, and time-intensive.[3]Template:Better source Decommissioning may proceed all the way to "greenfield status". Once a facility is decommissioned, no radiologic danger should persist. Template:Cn it can be released from regulatory control and the plant licensee is no longer responsible for its nuclear safety.Template:Cn

In the US, the NRC recommends that the costs of decommissioning should be spread over the lifetime of a facility and saved in a decommissioning fund.[4]


The International Atomic Energy Agency has defined three options for decommissioning:

  • Immediate Dismantling (Early Site Release/DECON in the US): This option allows for the facility to be removed from regulatory control relatively soon after shutdown or termination of regulated activities. Final dismantling or decontamination activities begin within a few months or years, and depending on the facility, it could take five years or more.[5] Following removal from regulatory control, the site becomes available for re-use.[6]
  • Safe Enclosure (or Safestor(e) SAFSTOR): This option postpones the final removal of controls for a longer period, usually on the order of 40 to 60 years. The facility is placed into a safe storage configuration until the eventual dismantling and decontamination activities occur.[7]
  • Entombment/ENTOMB: This option entails placing the facility into a condition that will allow the remaining radioactive material to remain on-site indefinitely. This option usually involves reducing the size of the area where the radioactive material is located and then encasing the facility in a long-lived material such as concrete, theoretically preventing a release of radioactive material.[8]


A wide range of nuclear facilities have been decommissioned so far. The number of decommissioned nuclear reactors out of the List of nuclear reactors is small. Companies specialize in nuclear decommissioning, which has become a profitable business. More recently, construction and demolition companies in the UK have also begun to develop nuclear decommissioning services. Due to the radioactivity in the reactor structure, decommissioning takes place in stages.Template:CN Plans for decommissioning reactors have a time frame of decades.Template:CN The long time frame makes reliable cost estimates difficult and cost overruns are common even for "quick" projects.Template:CN

North America[]


The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, viewed from the west. All eight reactors are visible; two units have been shut down.

Most nuclear plants currentlyTemplate:WHEN operating in the United States were designed for a life of about 30–40 years[9] and are licensed to operate for 40 years by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[10][11] The average age of these reactors is 32 years.[11] Many plants are coming to the end of their licensing period and if their licenses are not renewed, they must go through a decontamination and decommissioning process.[9][12][13]

Dismantled reactors in North America[14][15][16]
Country Location Reactor type Operative life Decommissioning
Canada (Québec) Gentilly-1 CANDU-BWR
250 MWe
180 days
(between 1966 and 1973)
"Static state" since 1986[17][18][19] stage two:Template:Clarify
$25 million
Pickering NGS
Units A2 and A3
8 x 542 MWe
30 years
(from 1974 to 2004)
Two units currently in "cold standby"
Decommissioning to begin in 2020[20][21]
$270–430/kWeTemplate:Citation needed
United States Crystal River 3 NPP
860 MWe
33 years

Plant scheduled to restart in April 2011, but the project encountered a number of delays.[23] After repairs, additional delamination began to occur in adjacent bays. Duke Energy announced in Feb-2013 that the Crystal River NPP would be permanently shut down.[24]

From 2015 to 2019 in defueling.
expected SAFSTOR 2019–2067

Decommissioning Periods (Start – End); Duration (years)
Period 1: Planning and Preparations (Jun 2013 – Jul 2015) 2.08 y.
P. 2a: Dormancy w/Wet Fuel Storage (Ju1 2015 – Aug 2019) 4.12 y.
2b: Dormancy w/Dry Fuel Storage (Aug 2019 – Dec 2036) 17.39 y.
2c: Dormancy w/No Fuel Storage (Dec 2036 – May 2067) 30.39 y.
P. 3a: Site Reactivation & D. Prep (May 2067 – Nov 2068) 1.50 y.
P. 4a: Large Component Removal (Nov 2068 – May 2070) 1.45 y.
4b & 4c: Systems Removal & Building Remediation(2070–2072) 2 y.
Period 4f: License Termination (May 2072 – Feb 2073) 0.75y.
Period 5b: Site Restoration (Feb 2073 – Aug 2074) 1.50 y.

~$1,2 billion[26]
United States Dresden NPP
Unit 1
Morris, (Illinois)
207 MWe
18 years
Defueled in safety in 1998
now in SAFSTOR[27]
Fuel in on-site dry-casks.[28]
United States Fort St. Vrain GS
380 MWe
12 years
Immediate Decon $195 million
United States Rancho Seco NGS[29]
PWR 913 MWe 12 years
(Closed after a referendum in 1989)
SAFSTOR: 5–10 years
completed in 2009 [30]

Fuel in insite long-term dry-cask storage

$538.1 million [31]
United States Three Mile Island-2
PWR 913 MWe 1978-1979
Core fusion incident
Phase 2 (1979)
$805 million
United States Shippingport
BWR 60 MWe 25 years
(closed in 1989)
Decon completed
dismantled in 5 years
(first small experimental reactor)
$98.4 million[34]
United States San Onofre NGS Unit 1
(southern California)
PWR 436 MWe[35] Westinghouse Electric Corporation 25 years
Reactor dismantled and used as a storage site for spent fuel.[36]
United States San Onofre NGS Units 2 and 3
(southern California)[37]
2 x PWR 1,075 MWe[35] Unit 2: 1983 – 2013
Unit 3: 1984 – 2013

In 2011, Edison finished replacing the steam generators in both reactors with improved Mitsubishi ones, but the new design had several problems, cracked, causing leaks and vibrations.[38]

Permanent shutdown – DECON
soon defueling[39]
$3.926 billion[40]Template:Rp to $4.4 billion[41]
United States Piqua NGS
OCM (Organically Cooled/Moderated) reactor 46 MWe[42] 2 years
(closed in 1966)
(coolant design inadequate for neutron flux)
United States Trojan NPP
PWR 1,180 MWe 16 years
(Closed in 1993 because of nearby to seismic fault)
(cooling tower demolished in 2006)
United States Yankee Rowe
PWR 185 MW 31 years
Decon completed – Demolished
(greenfield open to visitors) [44]
$608 million with $8 million per year upkeep
United States Maine Yankee NPP PWR
860 MWe
24 years
(closed in 1996)
Decon completed – Demolished in 2004
(greenfield open to visitors) [45][46]
$635 million[47]
United States Vermont Yankee NPP BWR 620 MWe
(General Electric)
42 years
~$1.24 billion
United States Exelon –
Zion NPS 1 & 2
2 x PWR 1040 MWe
25 years

(opening of the site to visitors for 2018) [48]

$900–1,100 million
(2007 dollars)[49]
United States Pacific Gas & Electric
Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant – Unit 3
BWR 63 MWe 13 years
(Shut down per seismic retrofit)
On July 2, 1976, Humboldt Bay Power Plant (HBPP) Unit 3 was shut down for annual refueling and to conduct seismic modifications. In 1983, updated economic analyses indicated that restarting Unit 3 would probably not be cost-effective, and in June 1983, PG&E announced its intention to decommission the unit. On July 16, 1985, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued Amendment No. 19 to the HBPP Unit 3 Operating License to change the status to possess-but-not-operate, and the plant was placed into a SAFSTOR status. Unknown – Closure date: December 31, 2015[50]


Dismantled reactors in Asia[51]
Country Location Reactor type Operative life Decommissioning
China[52] Beijing (CIAE) HWWR 10 MWe (multipurpose Heavy Water Experimental Reactor for the production of plutonium and tritium) 49 years
SAFSTOR & Decon in 20 years (until 2027) proposed: $6 million for dismantling
$5 million for fuel remotion
India[53] Rajasthan Atomic Power Station Unit 1
PHWR 100 MWe (similar to CANDU) 44 years
Iraq Osiraq/Tammuz-1[54] BWR 40 MWe
Nuclear reactor with weapons-grade plutonium production capability
(Destroyed by Israeli Air Force in 1981) Not radioactive: never refurbished with uranium
Japan Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP
(Unit 1)
BWR 439 MWe November 17, 1970 - March 11, 2011 Since 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11
total nuclear meltdown

Hydrogen explosion (INES 7)[63][64]

Estimated at ¥10 trillion (US$100 billion) for decontaminating Fukushima and dismantling all reactors in Japan and considering long time damage to environment and economy, including agriculture, cattle breeding, fishery, water potabilization, tourism, lost of reputation in the world
(without considering further health care spending & reduction of life expectancy).[65]
Japan Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP
(Unit 2)
BWR 760 MWe December 24, 1973 - March 11, 2011 Since March 11, 2011
total nuclear meltdown Hydrogen explosions (INES 7)[66][67][68]
Risk of imminent collapse of a 1 square meter area in vessel.
In Jan-2017 radioactivity around reactor 2° vessel was equal to...
530 sievert/hour = 53000 rem/hour[69][70][71]
Japan Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP
(Unit 3)
BWR 760 MWe October 26, 1974 - March 11, 2011 Since March 11, 2011
total nuclear meltdown Hydrogen explosions (INES 7)[72]
Japan Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP
(Unit 4)
BWR 760 MWe February 24, 1978 - March 11, 2011 Since March 11, 2011
Reactor defueled when tsunami hit
Damage to spent fuel cooling-pool
(INES 4)
(Situation could worsen if spent-fuel pool collapses)[73][74][75][76][77][78]
(Other specialists disagree about this danger)[79][80]
Japan Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP
(Unit 5)
BWR 760 MWe September 22, 1977 - March 11, 2011 Cold shutdown since March 11, 2011
Japan Fukushima Daiichi NPP
(Unit 6)
BWR 1067 MWe May 4, 1979 - March 11, 2011 Cold shutdown since March 11, 2011
Japan Fukushima Daini NPP
(Unit 1 )[81]
BWR 1067 MWe July 31, 1981 - 11 March 2011 Cold shutdown since March 11, 2011
(leakage of coolant)[82]
Japan Fukushima Daini NPP
(Units 2 – 4)
3 x BWR 1067 MWe June 23, 1983
December 14, 1984
December 17, 1986 - 11 March 2011
Cold shutdown since March 11, 2011
3 x SCRAM[83]
(Fukushima prefectural assembly demands decommissioning of Fukushima Daini NPP) [84]
Japan Fugen NPP [85] Advanced thermal reactor
(MOX fuel core,
heavy water-BWR)
165 MWe
1979 – 2003 Cold shutdown [86]

[87] [88]

Japan Tokai NPP
(Reactor 2)
BWR/5[89] 1100 MWe November 28, 1978 - 11 March 2011 Cold shutdown since March 2011
SCRAM (anti-tsunami barrier stopped the waves)
INES 1 (leakage of coolant)[90]
Japan Tokai NPP
(Reactor 1)
Magnox (GCR) 160 MWe 1966 – 1998 Safstore: 10 years[91][92]
then decon
until 2018

¥93 billion[93]
(€660 million of 2003)
North Korea Yongbyon Magnox-type
(reactor for the production of nuclear weapons through PUREX treatment)
20 years
Deactivated after a treaty[94][95]
SAFSTOR: cooling tower dismantled ?

Western Europe[]

A 2013 estimate by the United Kingdom's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority predicted costs of at least £100 billion to decommission the 19 existing United Kingdom nuclear sites.[96]

Decommmisioned reactors in Western Europe[97][98][99][100]
Country Location Reactor type Operative Life Decommissioning
Austria[101] Zwentendorf NPP PWR 723 MWe Never activated due to referendum in 1978[102]
Belgium SCK•CEN – BR3,
located at Mol, Belgium
PWR (BR-3)
25 years
Decon completed (2011)[103][104]
European pilot project
(underwater cutting and remote operated tools) [105][106]
France[107] Brennilis HWGCR 70 MWe 12 years
Phase 3
(fire during decommissioning in 2015) [108]
already spent €480 million
(20 times the forecasted amount) [109][110]
France Bugey-1 UNGG
Gas cooled, graphite moderator
1972–1994 postponed ?
France Chinon 1,2,3 Gas-graphite
postponed ?
France Chooz-A PWR 300 MW 24 years
Fully decommissioned – Greenfield[111][112][113]
(Nuclear reactor was located inside a mountain cave)
France Saint-Laurent Nuclear Power Plant Gas-graphite 1969–1992
50 kg of Uranium in one of the reactors at the Saint-Laurent Nuclear Power Plant began to melt, an event classified at 'level 4' on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES).[114] As of March 2011, this is the most serious civil nuclear power accident in France.[115]
postponed ?
France Rapsodie at
Fast breeder nuclear reactor
40 MWe
15 years
1983: Defuelling
1987: Remotion of neutron reflectors
1985–1989: Decontamination
of sodium coolant
Accident when cleaning residual sodium in vessel with ethyl carbitol (March 31° 1994)
The removed activity is estimated to around 4800 TBq.
600 TBq (60Co) in 1990 still contained in 1ry vessel

The dose burden from 1987 to 1994 was 224 mSv.
RAPSODIE reached IAEA level 2 of decomm in 2005

STAGE 3 is planned in 2020[116]

France Phénix at
Fast breeder nuclear reactor
233 MWe
36 years
1) Defuelled estimated for the future:
$4000/kWeTemplate:Citation needed
France Superphénix at
Fast breeder nuclear reactor
11 years
1) Defuelled
2) Extraction of Sodium[119]
Pipe cutting with a robot [120][121]
estimated for the future:
$4000/kWeTemplate:Citation needed
West Germany Gundremmingen-A BWR
250 MWe

11 years
pilot project
(underwater cutting)
(~ $300–550/kWe)
Italy[122] Caorso NPP BWR
840 MWe[123][124]
3 yearsTemplate:Citation needed
(1978 – Closed in 1987 after referendum in 1986)
SAFSTOR: 30 years
(internal demolition)
€450 million (dismantling)
+ €300 million (fuel reprocessing)[125][126][127][128]
Italy Garigliano NPP (Caserta) BWR
150 MWe[129]
(Closed on March 1, 1982)
SAFSTOR: 30 years
(internal demolition)
Italy Latina NPP (Foce Verde) Magnox
210 MWe Gas-graphite[130]
24 years
(1962 – Closed in 1986 after referendum)
SAFSTOR: 30 years
(internal demolition)
Italy Trino Vercellese NPP PWR Westinghouse,
270 MWe[131]
(Closed in 1986 after referendum)
SAFSTOR: 30 years
(internal demolition)
Netherlands Dodewaard NPP BWR Westinghouse
58 MWe[132]
28 years
Defuelling completed
SAFSTOR: 40 years
Spain [133] José Cabrera NPS PWR
1 x 160 MWe
38 years

Dismantling [134]
Objective: green field in 2018[135]
Template:Euro217.8 million[136]
Spain Santa María de Garoña NPP
1 x 466 MWe
(by Dutch RDM)
1966 - 2013
(possible restart, since reactor vessel
is in good conditions)
Asked for renewal of license, until 2031 [137]
Spain Vandellós NPP-1 UNGG
480 MWe
18 years
fire in a turbogenerator

SAFSTOR: 30 years
(internal demolition)
Phases 1 and 2: €93 million
Sweden Barsebäck NPP 1 & 2 BWR 2 x 615 MW Reactor 1: 24 years 1975 – 1999
Reactor 2: 28 years 1977 – 2005
SAFSTOR: demolition will begin in 2020 The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has assessed that the costs for decommissioning and final disposal for the Swedish nuclear power industry may be underestimated by SKB by at least 11 billion Swedish crowns ($1.63 billion)[138]
Switzerland[139] DIORIT MWe Gas-graphite
(internal demolition)
Switzerland LUCENS 8,3 MWe CO2-heavy water
Incident: fire in 1969
Entombment for ? years
SAFSTOR & Decon: 24 years
(internal demolition)
Switzerland SAPHIR 0,01–0,1 MWe
(Light water pool)
39 years
(Experimental demonstrator)
In public display since inaugurationTemplate:Citation needed ?
United Kingdom Berkeley Magnox
(2 x 138 MWe)
27 years
SAFSTOR: 30 years
(internal demolition)
around $2600/kWe
United Kingdom Bradwell NPS Magnox
2 x 121 MWe
1962–2002 SAFSTOR: 30 years
(internal demolition)
around $2600/kWe
United Kingdom Dounreay
(PFR was a pool-type fast breeder reactor, cooled by liquid sodium, fueled with MOX).
250 MWe.[140] (Researh facility of UKAEA)
1974 – 1994
(with average 26.9% load)[141]
Delays and reliability problems before reaching full power.[142]
Remotely operated robot 'Reactorsaurus' will be sent in to decontaminate equipment as too dangerous a task for a human.[143] Control panel has been earmarked for an exhibition at London Science Museum (2016). [144]
United Kingdom Sellafield-Calderhall Magnox
4 x 60 MWe
first nuclear power station.
August 27, 1956 – March 31, 2003 (World's first nuclear power station to generate electrical power on an industrial scale [145]) The first reactor had been in use for 47 years.[146] SAFSTOR: 30 years
(internal demolition).[147]
around $2600/kWe
United Kingdom Chapelcross NPS Magnox
4 x 60 MWe
("sister reactor" to Calderhall)
1959 – 2004 SAFSTOR: 30 years
(internal demolition)
around $2600/kWe
United Kingdom Windscale
Pile 1
Pile 2
Air-cooled, graphite-moderated reactor for weapons-grade plutonium Windscale fire of October 1957 was the worst nuclear accident in Great Britain's history, ranked in severity at level 5 out of 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.[148] Giant towers reduced contamination[149] In 1990, U.K. Atomic Energy Authority started plans to decommission, disassemble and clean up both piles. In 2004 Pile 1 contained about 15 tonnes (14.76 L/T) of uranium fuel, and final completion of the decommissioning is not expected until 2037.[150]
United Kingdom Winfrith-Dorset
Research area of
100 MWe
Operated from
1958 to 1990.
All nine reactors mostly dismantled[151]


Eastern and Central Europe[]

Decommissioned reactors in Eastern Europe[154][16]
Country Location Reactor type Operative life Decommissioning
Bulgaria Kozloduy NPP-1,2,3,4[155] PWR VVER-440
(4 x 408 MWe)
Reactors 1,2 closed in 2003,
reactors 3,4 closed in 2006

(Closing forced
by European Union)
De-fuelling ?
East Germany Greifswald NPP-1,
5 x 408 MWe
Reactors 1–5 closed in 1989/1990,
reactor 6: finished but never operated
(underwater cutting)
~ $330/kWe
East Germany Rheinsberg NPP-1 VVER-210
70–80 MWe
24 years
In dismantling
since 1996
Safstor (underwater cutting)
~ $330/kWe
East Germany Stendal NPP-1,2,3,4 VVER-1000
(4 x 1000 MWe)
Never activated
(1st reactor 85% completed)
Not radioactive
(Cooling towers
demolished with explosives)
(Structure in exhibition
inside an
industrial park)
Russia Mayak[156]
PUREX plant for
uranium enrichment
Several severe incidents
? ?
Russia Seversk[157]
Three plutonium reactors
Plant for uranium enrichment
Two fast-breeder reactors closed (of three),
after disarmaments agreements with USA in 2003.[158]
? ?
Slovakia Jaslovske Bohunice NPP-1,2
(180 km east from Vienna)[159][160]
VVER 440/230
2 X 440 MWe
? ?
Ukraine Chernobyl NPP-4
(110 km
from Kiev)
1000 MWe
hydrogen explosion,
then graphite fire (1986)

(INES 7)
(armed concrete "sarcophagus")
Past: ?
Future: riding sarcophagus in steel[161]

Legal aspects[]

The decommission of a nuclear reactor can only take place after the appropriate licence has been granted pursuant to the relevant legislation. As part of the licensing procedure, various documents, reports and expert opinions have to be written and delivered to the competent authority, e.g. safety report, technical documents and an environmental impact study (EIS).

In the European Union these documents are the basis for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) according to Council Directive 85/337/EEC. A precondition for granting such a licence is an opinion by the European Commission according to Article 37 of the Euratom Treaty. Article 37 obliges every Member State of the European Union to communicate certain data relating to the release of radioactive substances to the Commission. This information must reveal whether and if so what radiological impacts decommissioning – planned disposal and accidental release – will have on the environment, i.e. water, soil or airspace, of the EU Member States.[162] On the basis of these general data, the Commission must be in a position to assess the exposure of reference groups of the population in the nearest neighbouring states.


In USA many utility estimates now average $325 million per reactor all-up (1998 $).Template:Citation needed

In France, decommissioning of Brennilis Nuclear Power Plant, a fairly small 70 MW power plant, already cost €480 million (20x the estimate costs) and is still pending after 20 years. Despite the huge investments in securing the dismantlement, radioactive elements such as plutonium, caesium-137 and cobalt-60 leaked out into the surrounding lake.[163][164]

In the UK, decommissioning of the Windscale Advanced gas cooled reactor (WAGR), a 32 MW prototype power plant, cost €117 million.Template:Citation needed

In Germany, decommissioning of Niederaichbach nuclear power plant, a 100 MW power plant, amounted to more than €143 million.Template:Citation needed

New methods for decommissioning have been developed in order to minimize the usual high decommissioning costs. One of these methods is in situ decommissioning (ISD), meaning that the reactor is entombed instead of dismantled. This method was implemented at the U.S. Department of Energy Savannah River Site in South Carolina for the closures of the P and R Reactors. With this tactic, the cost of decommissioning both reactors was $73 million. In comparison, the decommissioning of each reactor using traditional methods would have been an estimated $250 million. This results in a 71% decrease in cost by using ISD.[165]

Decommissioning funds[]

In Europe there is considerable concern over the funds necessary to finance final decommissioning. In many countries either the funds do not appear sufficient to cover decommissioning and in other countries decommissioning funds are used for other activities, putting decommissioning at risk, and distorting competition with parties who do not have such funds available.[166]

In 2016 the European Commission assessed that European Union's nuclear decommissioning liabilities were seriously underfunded by about 118 billion euros, with only 150 billion euros of earmarked assets to cover 268 billion euros of expected decommissioning costs covering both dismantling of nuclear plants and storage of radioactive parts and waste. France had the largest shortfall with only 23 billion euros of earmarked assets to cover 74 billion euros of expected costs.[167]

Similar concerns exist in the United States, where the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has located apparent decommissioning funding assurance shortfalls and requested 18 power plants to address that issue.[168] The decommissioning cost of Small modular reactors is expected to be twice as much respect to Large Reactors.[169]

International collaboration[]

Organizations that promote the international sharing of information, knowledge, and experiences related to nuclear decommissioning include the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's Nuclear Energy Agency and the European Atomic Energy Community.[14] In addition, an online system called the Deactivation and Decommissioning Knowledge Management Information Tool was developed under the United States Department of Energy and made available to the international community to support the exchange of ideas and information. The goals of international collaboration in nuclear decommissioning are to reduce decommissioning costs and improve worker safety.[14]

Ships, mobile reactors, military reactors[]

Many warships and a few civil ships have used nuclear reactors for propulsion. Former Soviet and American warships have been taken out of service and their power plants removed or scuttled. Dismantling of Russian submarines and ships and American submarines and ships is ongoing. Marine power plants are generally smaller than land-based electrical generating stations.

The biggest American military nuclear facility for the production of weapons-grade plutonium was Hanford site (in the State of Washington), now defueled, but in a slow and problematic process of decontamination, decommissioning, and demolition. There is "the canyon" a giant structure for the chemical extraction of plutonium with the PUREX process. There are also many big containers and underground tanks with a solution of water, hydrocarbons and uranium-plutonium-neptunium-cesium-strontium (all highly radioactive). With all reactors now defueled, some were put in SAFSTOR (with their cooling towers demolished). Several reactors have been declared National Historic Landmarks.

See also[]

  • Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
  • Ship-Submarine recycling program
  • Nuclear entombment
  • Marcoule (French nuclear site)
  • D&D KM-IT (Deactivation and Decommissioning Knowledge Management Information Tool)


  1. Benjamin K. Sovacool. "A Critical Evaluation of Nuclear Power and Renewable Electricity in Asia", Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 40, No. 3, August 2010, p. 373.
  2. Quote: Before a nuclear power plant begins operations, the licensee must establish or obtain a financial mechanism – such as a trust fund or a guarantee from its parent company – to ensure there will be sufficient money to pay for the ultimate decommissioning of the facility.
  3. Benjamin K. Sovacool. "A Critical Evaluation of Nuclear Power and Renewable Electricity in Asia", Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 40, No. 3, August 2010, p. 373.
  4. NRC Factsheet Decomissoning Quote: Before a nuclear power plant begins operations, the licensee must establish or obtain a financial mechanism – such as a trust fund or a guarantee from its parent company – to ensure there will be sufficient money to pay for the ultimate decommissioning of the facility.
  5. "Fact Sheets: Decommissioning Of Nuclear Power Plants". National Energy Institute. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
  6. DECON: a method of decommissioning, in which structures, systems, and components that contain radioactive contamination are removed from a site and safely disposed at a commercially operated low-level waste disposal facility, or decontaminated to a level that permits the site to be released for unrestricted use shortly after it ceases operation.
  7. SAFSTOR: a method of decommissioning in which a nuclear facility is placed and maintained in a condition that allows the facility to be safely stored and subsequently decontaminated (deferred decontamination) to levels that permit release for unrestricted use.
  8. ENTOMB: a method of decommissioning, in which radioactive contaminants are encased in a structurally long-lived material, such as concrete. The entombed structure is maintained and surveillance is continued until the entombed radioactive waste decays to a level permitting termination of the license and unrestricted release of the property. During the entombment period, the licensee maintains the license previously issued by the NRC.
  9. 9,0 9,1 "Nuclear Decommissioning: Decommission nuclear facilities". Retrieved 2013-09-06.
  10. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission:Sites Undergoing Decommissioning (by Location or Name)
  11. 11,0 11,1 "How old are U.S. nuclear power plants and when was the last one built? – FAQ –". U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Retrieved 2013-09-06.
  12. "NRC: Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities". June 28, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
  14. 14,0 14,1 14,2 World Nuclear Association Decommissioning Nuclear Facilities published by (Association of nuclear reactors builders), March 2017
  15. NRC Locations of Power Reactor Sites Undergoing Decommissioning
  16. 16,0 16,1 Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI)Appendix A – A Summary of the Shutdown and Decommissioning Experience for Nuclear Power Plants in the United States and the Russian Federation. Appendix B – A Summary of the Regulatory Environment for the Shutdown and Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants in the United States and the Russian Federation. Appendix C – Recommended Outlines for Decommissioning Documentation
  17. IAEA: Taking Canada's Gentilly-1 to a "static state (by Balarko Gupta)
  18. ASCE: Gentilly-1 a study in nuclear decommission
  19. A Chernobyl in Québec? (correspondence on the dangers of Québec's only nuclear plant)
  20. Ontario Power Generation: Pickering Nuclear Power
  21. FAIREWINDS: Relicensing Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
  22. Duke Energy (October 12, 2010). "CRYSTAL RIVER NUCLEAR PLANT – SPECIAL INSPECTION REPORT 05000302/2009007".
  23. "Progress analyzing Crystal River repair proposals". World Nuclear News. January 11, 2012.
  24. "Crystal River Nuclear Plant to be retired; company evaluating sites for potential new gas-fueled generation". February 5, 2013.
  25. Estimate of Decommissioning Periods and Cost for Crystal River 3 NPP
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  48. With Exelon's Zion 1 & 2 reactors (2 x 1098 MWe) closed down in 1998 and in Safstor, a slightly different process is envisaged, considerably accelerating the decommissioning. Exelon has contracted with a specialist company – EnergySolutions, to remove the plant and return the site to greenfield status. To achieve this, the plant's licence and decommissioning funds will be transferred to EnergySolutions, which will then be owner and licensee, and the site will be returned to Exelon about 2018. Used fuel would remain on site until taken to the national repository.
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  54. Federation of American Scientists: Osiraq/Tammuz Nuclear Reactor
  55. TEPCO: Unit No. 1 is now “in a state of meltdown” – Suspects there are holes in bottom of reactor (VIDEO)
  56. ALERT: Melted fuel in No. 1 reactor NOT covered with water
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  65. The Japan Times: Whether Tepco fails or not, it’s taxpayers’ tab
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  67. Highest hydrogen levels
  68. Mainichi: Reactors No. 1 and 2 have holes up to 50 square CENTImeters, analysis says — Biggest hurdle now is filling with water — “Caused by hydrogen explosions” — Half million pounds of highly radioactive fuel inside reactors 1–3
  69. ENENEWS-Jan-7-2017
  70. Hell Hole on Earth Discovered at Fukushima February 9, 2017
  71. Expert warns of collapse at Fukushima reactor: “It would be the end of Japan”
  72. Japan Nuclear Expert: “We don’t even know at this point where the melted down core is” under Reactors No. 1, 2 or 3 (VIDEO)
  73. Coalition requests UN intervention to stabilize Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 at Fukushima — Endorsed by nuclear experts
  74. Footage of gov’t official at Fukushima inspecting support posts under Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 (VIDEOS)
  75. “Ability for Unit 4 to withstand another seismic event is rated at zero” -Nuclear Watchdog
  76. The Worst Yet to Come? Why Nuclear Experts Are Calling Fukushima a Ticking Time-Bomb – Experts say acknowledging the threat would call into question the safety of dozens of identically designed nuclear power plants in the U.S.
  77. Japan Nuclear Expert: There are known to be broken fuel rod assemblies in Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 – Large amount of radioactive material has fallen to bottom – "Many years" to get fuel out (VIDEO)
  78. THE GUARDIAN: The Fukushima nuclear plant's slow recovery offers lessons to the US
  79. Adam Curry Exposes Robert Alvarez’s Fukushima Spent Fuel Pool Fable on No Agenda
  80. The Neutron Economy: Overheated rods & rhetoric
  81. The Other Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
  82. Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station all shutdown
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  94. PRESS TV (Iranian News Agency): North Korea to decommission nuclear facility
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  98. Nuclear Decommissioning (Reactor Building Companies)
  99. British Parliament: Estimated dates for the dismantling of nuclear reactors in the United Kingdom
  100. AIEA: Nuclear Power Reactors in Japan
  101. NEA: Decommissioning in Austria
  102. SUSTAINABILITY INSTITUTE: Zwentendorf, a Nuclear Plant That Will Never Be Turned On
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  109. The global state of nuclear decommissioning: costs rising, funds shrinking, and industry looks to escape liability by decades of delay
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  117. SCITECH CONNECT: Phenix Decommissioning Project – Overview
  118. WISEINTERNATIONAL: Superphénix; still more problems ahead
  120. Decommissioning of Fast Reactors after Sodium Draining
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  126. Via libera allo smantellamento della centrale di Caorso
  127. Accordo tra la SOGIN e la Sudsvik svedese
  128. LA REPUBBLICA: Per Caorso un addio lungo mezzo secolo, piano ENEL per smantellare la centrale
  129. Zona Nucleare – La centrale nucleare in fase di smantellamento ex-ENEL di Garigliano (Caserta)
  130. Zona Nucleare – La centrale nucleare in fase di smantellamento ex-ENEL di Foce Verde (Latina)
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  136. Comparison of estimated and actual decommissioning cost of José Cabrera NPP
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  147. NDA Calder Hall Nuclear Power Station Feasibility Study 2007.
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  149. Windscale Piles: Cockcroft's Follies avoided nuclear disaster
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  152. "Winfrith – Quarterly report for 1 July – 30 September 2011". Retrieved 2013-09-06.
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  155. World Nuclear Association: Nuclear Power in Bulgaria
  156. La storia dei ripetuti incidenti a Majak
  157. UK-Russia Closed Nuclear Cities Partnership
  158. Russia shuts second plutonium-producing reactor at Seversk
  159. BBC: Austria against restarting of nuclear reactor at Jaslovske Bohunice
  160. YAHOO NEWS: Slovakia forced to restart nuclear reactors after Ukrainian gas crisis
  161. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development: Breakthrough for Chernobyl nuclear decommissioning efforts (Consortium Novarka to build New Safe Confinement Holtec International to complete Spent Fuel Storage)
  162. Heuel-Fabianek, B., Kümmerle, E., Möllmann-Coers, M., Lennartz, R. (2008): The relevance of Article 37 of the Euratom Treaty for the dismantling of nuclear reactors. atw – International Journal for Nuclear Power 6/2008
  163. Le Télégramme: Brennilis
  164. Ouest-France: "Brennilis : EDF se fait taper sur les doigts"
  165. "SRS P and R Reactor Basins ISD Final".
  166. ENDS: Nuclear decommissioning funds “require oversight”
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  168. "NRC Requests Plans from 18 Nuclear Power Plants to Address Apparent Decommissioning Funding Assurance Shortfalls". Nuclear Regulatory Commission. June 19, 2009. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
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External links[]

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