United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Staff Responses to Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Reactors (NUREG-1628)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: May 2000
Date Published:
June 2000

Prepared by:
John L Minns and Michael T. Masnik, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Rebekah Harty and Eva Eckert Hickey, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Division of Licensing Project Management
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington D.C. 20555-0001

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Abstract

This report, through a question-and-answer format, provides U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff responses to frequently asked questions on the decommissioning process for commercial, nuclear power reactors. The questions were taken from a variety of sources over the past several years, including written inquiries to the NRC and questions asked at public meetings and during informal discussions with the NRC staff. In responding to the questions, the NRC staff attempted to provided the answers in a clear and non-technical form.

With the increase in the number of power reactors beginning the decommissioning process and significant changes that occurred in the regulations since 1996, the staff realized that there was a general lack of understanding of the decommissioning process and the risks associated with decommissioning. This document was developed in response to the staff's concerns. The report contains a definition of decommissioning and a discussion of alternatives. It also provides a focus on decommissioning experiences in the United States and how the NRC regulates the decommissioning process. Questions related to spent fuel, low-level waste, and transportation related to decommissioning are answered. Questions related to license termination, the ultimate disposition of the facility, and finances for completing decommissioning and hazards associated with decommissioning are also addressed. This document also provides responses to questions related to public involvement in decommissioning as well as providing the public with sources of obtaining additional information on decommissioning.

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