International Aspects of Decommissioning

The NRC maintains a program of interaction with the international community in the area of decommissioning, which is coordinated with sister agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Office of International Programs (OIP) is the central point of contact for these interactions. The U.S. Department of State maintains missions to international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy (IAEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and coordinates these activities through the nuclear safety attaché in each of these missions.

The NRC also participates in bilateral and trilateral exchanges with Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, and other nations facing decommissioning challenges. NRC management and staff also provide expert services, when requested by individual nations or as technical expert support to international organization expert missions. Decommissioning topics routinely form a component of these exchanges and expert missions.

The NRC's decommissioning involvement in the international arena provides two benefits: (1) We are able to assist other countries with our experience and lessons learned, and (2) we benefit from the experiences that other countries have in decommissioning nuclear facilities. Within the context of the international organizations, the NRC works in concert with other Member States to provide globally applicable guidance in the various strategies for decommissioning facilities. These strategies are documented in the IAEA Safety Standards series and in NEA publications.

During the August 2005 American Nuclear Society's Topical Meeting on Decommissioning, Decontamination and Reutilization, held in Denver, Colorado, NRC presented a paper addressing International Decommissioning Regulatory Initiatives and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Some of the interactions discussed above are explained in more detail.

Past discussions and interactions in the international arena include:

  • Securing adequate institutional controls
  • Complexity of site/dose modeling
  • Influence from diverse stakeholders
  • Decommissioning funding

Other related documents and sites on radioactive waste and decommissioning:

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