United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment
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Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities

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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:

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 2013 Annual Report and Sites Undergoing Decommissioning (by Location or Name).

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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.

The NRC’s decommissioning regulatory activities are coordinated by the Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs (FSME), Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, March 21, 2014