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Decommissioning

Performing decommissioning for over 20 years, our team has over 500 years of combined experience.  RSCS has successfully executed decommissioning tasks at several current and former project sites ranging from large nuclear power installations to university and research facilities, medical centers, and industrial sites which use radioactive material as part of their mission.  Our team has performed the planning, design, and execution of reactor, accelerator, and cyclotron decommissioning projects as well as radiochemical sites (including NORM and TENORM sites).

PROJECT PLANNING – RISK-BASED APPROACH

Safety is the number one priority during any decommissioning activity.  RSCS understands the significance of Conduct of Operations, ALARA, Industrial Safety, Regulatory Compliance Requirements, Environmental Requirements and Community Relations.  We maintain our own decommissioning license and a comprehensive set of our own decommissioning procedures, which, if necessary, can be customized to client sites for performance of work activities.  

Our team’s many years of applying innovative technology and methodology to decommissioning projects has been leveraged to develop efficient and effective approaches to planning the remediation of high risk radiological work.  Approaching projects with a “risk-based” framework, we deploy subject-matter experts and teams to oversee projects of similar hazardous and radiological constituents and controls which minimizes manpower requirements by scheduling and planning high-risk work according to skill-sets and removal techniques rather than by area.  This ensures a high level of schedule adherence and minimizes cost due to mitigation of starts, stops, and hold-points.

INTEGRATED APPROACH TO PROJECT SCHEDULING

Integration of all key support activities into decommissioning plans and schedules reduces duplication of effort and increases schedule adherence.  RSCS incorporates physical dismantlement activities with radiological, safety, chemical, and environmental controls early in the planning process, enabling economies of scale to be applied when executing decommissioning tasks.  This solid integration of support activities into the job creates efficient plans for sample collection and monitoring activities, radiological and safety controls, and access/egress controls which positively impacts schedule and cost. 

EFFICIENT CHARACTERIZATION METHODOLOGIES TO MINIMIZE WASTE

Handling and disposition of radiological waste is a significant cost-driver in decommissioning. Understanding the radiological fingerprint of a site is a key component to managing radiological materials and waste on a decommissioning site.  The radionuclide mix and amounts of radioactivity drive decommissioning planning activities, material storage methods, and waste disposal.  Characterizing materials upfront minimizes storage and handling and disposal costs by aiding in effective segregations.  

RSCS has a keen understanding of the types and amounts of material to expect at nuclear sites, and has developed efficient methods to characterize normal and hard-to-detect radionuclides.  We maintain an arsenal of specialty detection equipment including in-situ gamma spectroscopy systems, large area detectors, area monitors and teledosimetric devices to aid in the characterization and monitoring at decommissioning sites.

PROJECT PROGRAM REDUCTION

Preparing for decommissioning requires a change from a maintenance-and-operating based organization to a project-based organization.  This can be a significant cultural change for site workers and management. Operating plants maintain programs and procedures which require a significant level of surveillance and effort which can be downgraded during decommissioning.  Unfortunately, the reduction in many costly requirements is not automatic when the plant ceases operations.  Effort is required to eliminate programs, procedures, and regulatory commitments in order to cut back on these activities.

RSCS has developed a roadmap for decommissioning program reduction that can be integrated into the decommissioning planning process so that costly commitments can be reduced as early as possible in the decommissioning process.  We understand the design basis and license basis for radiological and safety related surveillances and monitoring as well as system-based requirements so that FSAR, Technical Specification, ODCM, and other program and procedure requirements are eliminated as soon as practical during the progression of decommissioning tasks.  Our team has been successful in the communication of the “whys” and “hows” of these changes to project leadership and the workforce so that the cultural transition from operations through decommissioning is smooth.