The Awareness: 1970s

  • Michele Laraia
Part of the Lecture Notes in Energy book series (LNEN, volume 66)


The 1970s is the decade when full recognition was given to decommissioning as an independent, integrated science and industry. To mark this recognition, one has to look at major national and international conferences that took place in this period, and the large number of attendees. Some detail is given in this chapter to the first decommissioning project for a commercial nuclear power reactor, Elk River (1974). The 1970s signaled also a critical issue (later named “clearance levels”), which has been haunting the decommissioning industry since and still does, although hopefully to a lesser degree in future. Appendix 1 to this chapter describes the history of clearance levels until now. But the Three Mile Island accident (TMI 1979) although not the first nuclear accident, made the nuclear community consider, and take action for, the possibility that a nuclear reactor had to be decommissioned following a serious accident; these circumstances require a specific decommissioning strategy. A brief overview of nuclear accidents and their impact on subsequent decommissioning is given in Appendix 2 to this chapter. A third Appendix expands on another critical issue, the decision-making in decontamination: it shows that the development of the decommissioning industry brought about the understanding that many more factors are involved in the selection of a decontamination strategy than the mere removal of contamination (i.e. the decontamination factor).


  1. Bainbridge GR et al (1974) Decommissioning of nuclear facilities: a review of status. Atomic Energy Rev 12(1), 145–60Google Scholar
  2. Carson JF (1973) Decommissioning the Babcock & Wilcox test reactor. In: Trans ANS Meeting, v 17, Suppl., San Francisco, 11–15 Nov 1973Google Scholar
  3. Cross MT (2014) The Windscale Pile 1 accident in ‘57, subsequent clean-up & decommissioning, presented at WM14, Phoenix, Arizona, USA, 2–6 Mar 2014.
  4. European Commission (1979) Gestion des déchets radioactifs provenant du démantèlement des centrales nucléaires (Management of waste resulting from the dismantling of nuclear power stations), EUR-6359 (in French)Google Scholar
  5. Commission of the European Communities (1991) Impact radiologique dû au cuivre et à l’aluminium très faiblement radioactifs provenant du démantèlement d’installations nucléaires (Radiological Impact from Lightly Contaminated Copper and Aluminum Resulting from Dismantling of Nuclear Installations), EUR-13160Google Scholar
  6. European Commission (1995) Définition des Autorisations de Sortie ou Clearance Levels pour les Bétons Venant du Démantèlement (Definition of Clearance Levels for Concretes Resulting from Dismantling), EUR-16004Google Scholar
  7. European Commission (1988) Recommended radiological protection criteria for the recycling of metals from the dismantling of nuclear installations, RP-89Google Scholar
  8. European Commission (2000) Recommended radiological protection criteria for the clearance of buildings and building rubble from the dismantling of nuclear installations, RP-113Google Scholar
  9. European Commission (2001) Practical use of the concepts of clearance and exemption (Part I)- guidance on general clearance levels for practices, RP-122Google Scholar
  10. US Energy Research and Development Administration (1975) Proceedings of the first conference on decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of ERDA Facilities, Idaho Falls, ID, 19–21 Aug 1975, CONF-750827Google Scholar
  11. Harvey MP et al (1998) Calculations of clearance levels for the UK nuclear industry, NRPB-M986. National Radiological Protection Board, ChiltonGoogle Scholar
  12. Hill MD et al (1999) Derivation of UK unconditional clearance levels for solid radioactively contaminated materials. Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Rep. No DETR/RAS/98.004, DETR, HMSO, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Health Physics Society (1999) Surface and volume radioactivity standards for clearance, ANSI/HPS N13.12, HPS, McLean, Virginia, 1999Google Scholar
  14. International Atomic Energy Agency (1975) Decommissioning of nuclear facilities, Report of a technical committee meeting held in Vienna, IAEA-179, 20 –24 Oct 1975Google Scholar
  15. International Atomic Energy Agency (1979) Decommissioning of nuclear facilities. In: Proceedings of an International Symposium Jointly Organized by the IAEA and the OECD/NEA and Held in Vienna, IAEA, Vienna, 13–17 Nov 1978Google Scholar
  16. International Atomic Energy Agency (1980) Factors relevant to the decommissioning of land-based nuclear reactor plants, Safety Series No. 52, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  17. International Atomic Energy Agency (1985) Decontamination of nuclear facilities to permit operation, inspection, maintenance, modification or plant decommissioning, Technical Reports Series No 249, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  18. International Atomic Energy Agency (1988a) Principles for the exemption of radiation sources and practices from regulatory control, jointly sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD, Safety Series No 89, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  19. International Atomic Energy Agency (1988) Factors relevant to the recycling or reuse of components arising from the decommissioning and refurbishment of nuclear facilities, Technical Reports Series No 293, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  20. International Atomic Energy Agency (1992) Application of exemption principles to the recycle and reuse of materials from nuclear facilities, Safety Series No 111-P-1.1, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  21. International Atomic Energy Agency (1992) Monitoring programmes for unrestricted release related to the decommissioning of nuclear facilities, Technical Reports Series No 334, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  22. International Atomic Energy Agency (1996) Clearance levels for radionuclides in solid materials: application of exemption principles, IAEA-TECDOC-855, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  23. International Atomic Energy Agency (2004) Application of the concepts of exclusion, exemption and clearance, Safety Guide No RS-G-1.7, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  24. International Atomic Energy Agency (2014) Radiation protection and safety of radiation sources: international basic safety standards, General Safety Requirements Part 3, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  25. Laraia M (ed) (2017) Advances and innovations in nuclear decommissioning. Woodhead Publishing, ISBN 9780081011225Google Scholar
  26. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1978) Technology, safety and costs of decommissioning a reference pressurized water reactor power station, NUREG/CR-0130Google Scholar
  27. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2003) Radiological assessment for clearance of equipment and materials from nuclear facilities, NUREG-1640. USNRC, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  28. Portland General Electric Company, PGE- 1061 (2001) Trojan nuclear plant decommissioning plan and license termination plan (PGE- 1078). Revision 9, 6 Mar 2001.
  29. Watson BA et al (2006) Two approaches to reactor decommissioning: 10 CFR Part 50 license termination and license amendment, lessons learned from the regulatory perspective. In: WM’06 Conference, Waste Management Symposia, Feb 26– Mar 2 2006, Tucson, AZ.
  30. World Nuclear News (2014) Core catcher for Akkuyu, 30 Sep 2014.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele Laraia
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ConsultantRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations