The process of safely closing a nuclear power plant (or other facility where nuclear materials are handled) to retire it from service after its useful life has ended. This process primarily involves decontaminating the facility to reduce residual radioactivity and then releasing the property for unrestricted or (under certain conditions) restricted use. This often includes dismantling the facility or dedicating it to other purposes. Decommissioning begins after the nuclear fuel, coolant, and radioactive waste are removed. For additional information, see Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities and Find Sites Undergoing Decommissioning.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, March 09, 2021