Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities
- Program Documents
- NRC Terminated License Tracking System
- International Aspects
- Lessons Learned
- Fact Sheet: Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants
- Decommissioning (video)
- Frequently Asked Questions About Reactor Decommissioning
- Status of Complex Materials Sites
- Fuel Cycle Facilities
- Uranium Recovery
- Environmental Review Guidance for Licensing Actions Associated with NMSS Programs (NUREG-1748)
- Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants Brochure (NUREG/BR-0521)
- Groundwater Considerations (RIC Session Video) – Flash/Mobile/HTML5
- Groundwater Considerations (RIC Session Video) – Windows Media
On this page:
What We Regulate
The nuclear regulatory activities of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) include decommissioning nuclear facilities, which means safely removing a facility or site from service and reducing residual radioactivity to a level that permits either of the following actions:
- Release the property for unrestricted use, and terminate the license.
- Release the property under restricted conditions, and terminate the license.
The NRC and its Agreement States regulate the decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities, with the ultimate goal of license termination. These currently include the following facilities:
- Complex Materials Sites Undergoing Decommissioning
- Power Reactor Sites Undergoing Decommissioning
- Research and Test Reactor Sites Undergoing Decommissioning
- Uranium Recovery Sites Undergoing Decommissioning
- Fuel Cycle Facilities Undergoing Decommissioning
Approximately 150 materials licenses are terminated each year. Most of these license terminations are routine, and the sites require little, if any, remediation to meet the NRC's criteria for unrestricted release.
For more information, see the Status of Decommissioning Program 2015 Annual Report and Sites Undergoing Decommissioning (by Location or Name).
How We Regulate
Decommissioning program activities include (1) developing regulations and guidance to assist staff and the regulated community; (2) conducting research to develop data, techniques, and models used to assess public exposure from the release of radioactive material resulting from site decommissioning; (3) reviewing and approving decommissioning plans (DPs) and license termination plans (LTPs); (4) reviewing and approving license amendment requests for decommissioning facilities; (5) inspecting licensed and non-licensed facilities undergoing decommissioning; (6) developing environmental assessments (EAs) and environmental impact statements (EISs) to support the NRC's reviews of decommissioning activities; (7) reviewing and approving final site status survey reports; and (8) conducting confirmatory surveys.
The NRC ensures that safety requirements are being met throughout the decommissioning process by reviewing decommissioning or license termination plans, conducting inspections, and monitoring the status of activities to ensure that radioactive contamination is reduced or stabilized.
- Regulations, Guidance, and Communications
- Financial Assurance
- Oversight of Materials and Reactors
- Public Involvement
The NRC's decommissioning regulatory activities are coordinated by the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS), Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery, & Waste Programs.