A Custom D&D Solution at Rocky Flats
Decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of a nuclear facility is a complex process carried out in several phases over many years to ensure the safe removal of radioactive materials and the eventual release of the site for unrestricted use or repurposing.
There are a number of key phases of the D&D process, and Mirion provides a comprehensive suite of instruments, services and capabilities to assist in the safe and efficient decommissioning of a site.
This phase involves detailed planning, evaluation of the facility's current radiological and physical status, development of a D&D strategy, identification of regulatory requirements, and estimation of costs and timelines. Mirion radiation measurement equipment can be used during the pre-planning and assessment phase of decontamination and decommissioning to evaluate the facility's current radiological status. Mirion measurement systems and expert advisory teams can help identify and quantify radioactive materials, enabling the development of a comprehensive D&D and waste management strategy that addresses safety concerns, regulatory requirements, and waste management, leading to optimized schedules and minimized waste costs.
This phase involves the removal or reduction of radioactive contaminants from equipment, structures, and surfaces using various techniques. The goal is to minimize radiation exposure risks for personnel and reduce the volume of radioactive waste generated during decommissioning. Mirion portable and laboratory radiation measurement and analysis systems and dosimetry services and systems can be utilized during the dismantling and demolition phase of decommissioning to monitor radiation levels, ensuring the safety of workers and preventing excessive radiation exposure. These instruments enable real-time dose assessment, helping workers safely manage and segregate radioactive materials and waste during the dismantling process. In addition, in-situ measurement systems (deployed by site teams or with Mirion Expertise support) can assist to segregate areas containing higher activity levels so that they may be later removed for separate processing, leaving the lower activity bulk material for cheaper, faster processing.
The facility's structures, systems, and components are systematically dismantled, disassembled, or demolished. Radioactive waste is segregated, characterized, and packaged for proper disposal, while non-radioactive materials are recycled or disposed of as conventional waste. Mirion radiation waste management, measurement and characterization systems are employed during the dismantling and demolition phase of decommissioning to accurately characterize and segregate radioactive waste materials. These systems ensure proper packaging, transportation, and disposal of radioactive waste, minimizing environmental impact and radiation exposure risks. Mirion's measurement and expertise services team can provide key capabilities and experience on-site to help, including definition of requirements and support of project planning.
Radioactive waste generated during the D&D process is managed according to established regulations and guidelines. This may involve on-site storage, off-site disposal, or transportation to a designated waste repository. Measurement systems are employed during waste management in the dismantling and demolition phase to accurately identify, segregate, and quantify radioactive materials. This ensures proper classification and packaging of waste, facilitating safe disposal and minimizing the risk of environmental contamination. In this phase, cost benefit analysis is a key consideration comparing on-site versus off-site storage, and again Mirion products and services are designed to aid such assessments.
Contaminated soil, groundwater, and other environmental media are remediated to achieve regulatory cleanup standards. Radiation measurement and scientific analysis systems are used during site remediation to detect and quantify residual radioactivity in soil, groundwater, and other environmental media. This real-time data enables efficient cleanup, removal of contaminated material where possible leaving a site suitable for re-purposing for non-active purposes and ensures that remediation efforts meet regulatory standards for safe site release or repurposing.
A comprehensive radiological survey is conducted to verify that the site meets the release criteria established by the regulatory authorities. Upon successful completion of the survey, the site may be released for unrestricted use or repurposed under controlled conditions. Radiation measurement and analysis systems are employed during the final radiation survey to accurately detect and quantify any residual radioactive contamination at the decommissioned site. This ensures that the site meets the established release criteria, allowing for its safe repurposing or unrestricted use.
The decommissioning process is documented, and lessons learned are shared to improve future D&D projects. Long-term monitoring and maintenance may be required for certain sites, depending on the residual contamination and regulatory requirements. Mirion remote measurement systems can be employed during post-decommissioning activities to continuously monitor residual radiation levels at the site. These systems enable efficient long-term monitoring, ensuring that the site remains within regulatory limits and any changes in radiation levels are promptly detected and addressed.
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