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Title: Reactor Design and Decommissioning - An Overview of International Activities in Post Fukushima Era1 - 12396

Abstract

Accidents at the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors as a result of the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 have not only dampened the nuclear renaissance but have also initiated a re-examination of the design and safety features for the existing and planned nuclear reactors. Even though failures of some of the key site features at Fukushima can be attributed to events that in the past would have been considered as beyond the design basis, the industry as well as the regulatory authorities are analyzing what features, especially passive features, should be designed into the new reactor designs to minimize the potential for catastrophic failures. It is also recognized that since the design of the Fukushima BWR reactors which were commissioned in 1971, many advanced safety features are now a part of the newer reactor designs. As the recovery efforts at the Fukushima site are still underway, decisions with respect to the dismantlement and decommissioning of the damaged reactors and structures have not yet been finalized. As it was with Three Mile Island, it could take several decades for dismantlement, decommissioning and clean up, and the project poses especially tough challenges. Near-term assessments have been issued by several organizations, includingmore » the IAEA, the USNRC and others. Results of such investigations will lead to additional improvements in system and site design measures including strengthening of the anti-tsunami defenses, more defense-in-depth features in reactor design, and better response planning and preparation involving reactor sites. The question also arises what would the effect be on the decommissioning scene worldwide, and what would the effect be on the new reactors when they are eventually retired and dismantled. This paper provides an overview of the US and international activities related to recovery and decommissioning including the decommissioning features in the reactor design process and examines these from a new perspective in the post Fukushima -accident era. Accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 have slowed down the nuclear renaissance world-wide and may have accelerated decommissioning either because some countries have decided to halt or reduce nuclear, or because the new safety requirements may reduce life-time extensions. Even in countries such as the UK and France that favor nuclear energy production existing nuclear sites are more likely to be chosen as sites for future NPPs. Even as the site recovery efforts continue at Fukushima and any decommissioning decisions are farther into the future, the accidents have focused attention on the reactor designs in general and specifically on the Fukushima type BWRs. The regulatory authorities in many countries have initiated a re-examination of the design of the systems, structures and components and considerations of the capability of the station to cope with beyond-design basis events. Enhancements to SSCs and site features for the existing reactors and the reactors that will be built will also impact the decommissioning phase activities. The newer reactor designs of today not only have enhanced safety features but also take into consideration the features that will facilitate future decommissioning. Lessons learned from past management and operation of reactors as well as the lessons from decommissioning are incorporated into the new designs. However, in the post-Fukushima era, the emphasis on beyond-design-basis capability may lead to significant changes in SSCs, which eventually will also have impact on the decommissioning phase. Additionally, where some countries decide to phase out the nuclear power, many reactors may enter the decommissioning phase in the coming decade. While the formal updating and expanding of existing guidance documents for accident cleanup and decommissioning would benefit by waiting until the Fukushima project has progressed sufficiently for that experience to be reliably interpreted, the development of structured on-line sharing of information and especially the creation of an on-line compendium of methods, tools, and techniques by which damaged fuel and other unique situations have been addressed can be addressed sooner and maintained as new problems and solutions arise and are resolved. The IAEA's new 'WEB 2.0 tool' CONNECT is expected to play a significant role in this and related information-sharing activities. The trend in some countries such as the United States has been to re-license the existing reactors for additional twenty years, beyond the original design life. Given the advances in technology over the past four decades, and considering that the newer designs incorporate significant improvements in safety systems, it may not be economical or technically feasible to retrofit enhancements into some of the older reactors. In such cases, the reactors may be retired from service and decommissioned. Overall, the energy demand in the world continues to rise, with sharp increases in the Asian countries, and nuclear power's role in the world's energy supply is expected to continue. Events at Fukushima have led to a re-examination on many fronts, including reactor design and regulatory requirements. Further changes may occur in these areas in the post-Fukushima era. These changes in turn will also impact the world-wide decommissioning scene and the decommissioning phase of the future reactors. (authors)« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. Nuclear Power Technologies, Sargent and Lundy LLC, Chicago, IL (United States)
  2. private consultant, formerly from IAEA, Kolonitzgasse 10/2, 1030, Vienna (Austria)
  3. OECD, Nuclear Energy Agency, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris (France)
  4. International Atomic Energy Agency, Wagramerstrasse 5, A-1400 Vienna (Austria)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
WM Symposia, 1628 E. Southern Avenue, Suite 9-332, Tempe, AZ 85282 (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
22293639
Report Number(s):
INIS-US-14-WM-12396
TRN: US14V1295115163
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: WM2012: Waste Management 2012 conference on improving the future in waste management, Phoenix, AZ (United States), 26 Feb - 1 Mar 2012; Other Information: Country of input: France; 23 refs.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 42 ENGINEERING; BWR TYPE REACTORS; DECOMMISSIONING; DESIGN; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; OPERATION; SAFETY; SUPERCONDUCTING SUPER COLLIDER

Citation Formats

Devgun, Jas S., Laraia, Michele, Pescatore, Claudio, and Dinner, Paul. Reactor Design and Decommissioning - An Overview of International Activities in Post Fukushima Era1 - 12396. United States: N. p., 2012. Web.
Devgun, Jas S., Laraia, Michele, Pescatore, Claudio, & Dinner, Paul. Reactor Design and Decommissioning - An Overview of International Activities in Post Fukushima Era1 - 12396. United States.
Devgun, Jas S., Laraia, Michele, Pescatore, Claudio, and Dinner, Paul. Sun . "Reactor Design and Decommissioning - An Overview of International Activities in Post Fukushima Era1 - 12396". United States.
@article{osti_22293639,
title = {Reactor Design and Decommissioning - An Overview of International Activities in Post Fukushima Era1 - 12396},
author = {Devgun, Jas S. and Laraia, Michele and Pescatore, Claudio and Dinner, Paul},
abstractNote = {Accidents at the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors as a result of the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 have not only dampened the nuclear renaissance but have also initiated a re-examination of the design and safety features for the existing and planned nuclear reactors. Even though failures of some of the key site features at Fukushima can be attributed to events that in the past would have been considered as beyond the design basis, the industry as well as the regulatory authorities are analyzing what features, especially passive features, should be designed into the new reactor designs to minimize the potential for catastrophic failures. It is also recognized that since the design of the Fukushima BWR reactors which were commissioned in 1971, many advanced safety features are now a part of the newer reactor designs. As the recovery efforts at the Fukushima site are still underway, decisions with respect to the dismantlement and decommissioning of the damaged reactors and structures have not yet been finalized. As it was with Three Mile Island, it could take several decades for dismantlement, decommissioning and clean up, and the project poses especially tough challenges. Near-term assessments have been issued by several organizations, including the IAEA, the USNRC and others. Results of such investigations will lead to additional improvements in system and site design measures including strengthening of the anti-tsunami defenses, more defense-in-depth features in reactor design, and better response planning and preparation involving reactor sites. The question also arises what would the effect be on the decommissioning scene worldwide, and what would the effect be on the new reactors when they are eventually retired and dismantled. This paper provides an overview of the US and international activities related to recovery and decommissioning including the decommissioning features in the reactor design process and examines these from a new perspective in the post Fukushima -accident era. Accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 have slowed down the nuclear renaissance world-wide and may have accelerated decommissioning either because some countries have decided to halt or reduce nuclear, or because the new safety requirements may reduce life-time extensions. Even in countries such as the UK and France that favor nuclear energy production existing nuclear sites are more likely to be chosen as sites for future NPPs. Even as the site recovery efforts continue at Fukushima and any decommissioning decisions are farther into the future, the accidents have focused attention on the reactor designs in general and specifically on the Fukushima type BWRs. The regulatory authorities in many countries have initiated a re-examination of the design of the systems, structures and components and considerations of the capability of the station to cope with beyond-design basis events. Enhancements to SSCs and site features for the existing reactors and the reactors that will be built will also impact the decommissioning phase activities. The newer reactor designs of today not only have enhanced safety features but also take into consideration the features that will facilitate future decommissioning. Lessons learned from past management and operation of reactors as well as the lessons from decommissioning are incorporated into the new designs. However, in the post-Fukushima era, the emphasis on beyond-design-basis capability may lead to significant changes in SSCs, which eventually will also have impact on the decommissioning phase. Additionally, where some countries decide to phase out the nuclear power, many reactors may enter the decommissioning phase in the coming decade. While the formal updating and expanding of existing guidance documents for accident cleanup and decommissioning would benefit by waiting until the Fukushima project has progressed sufficiently for that experience to be reliably interpreted, the development of structured on-line sharing of information and especially the creation of an on-line compendium of methods, tools, and techniques by which damaged fuel and other unique situations have been addressed can be addressed sooner and maintained as new problems and solutions arise and are resolved. The IAEA's new 'WEB 2.0 tool' CONNECT is expected to play a significant role in this and related information-sharing activities. The trend in some countries such as the United States has been to re-license the existing reactors for additional twenty years, beyond the original design life. Given the advances in technology over the past four decades, and considering that the newer designs incorporate significant improvements in safety systems, it may not be economical or technically feasible to retrofit enhancements into some of the older reactors. In such cases, the reactors may be retired from service and decommissioned. Overall, the energy demand in the world continues to rise, with sharp increases in the Asian countries, and nuclear power's role in the world's energy supply is expected to continue. Events at Fukushima have led to a re-examination on many fronts, including reactor design and regulatory requirements. Further changes may occur in these areas in the post-Fukushima era. These changes in turn will also impact the world-wide decommissioning scene and the decommissioning phase of the future reactors. (authors)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {7}
}

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