Isn’t Decommissioning something that happens after we (the operators staff) are all gone?
NO! Decommissioning is not something that operators can just leave for someone else to do…
Many operators and the staff at operating facilities might look at decommissioning as “something that happens at the end of a facilities lifecycle” and after they are gone. Well, yes it does, in its full implementation. But – in actuality – proper care and management of radiological facilities and nuclear facilities - and yes even for an industrial facility using radioactive material - would have the operator (or some authority responsible for it if not the operator) to be planning for the facilities eventual shutdown and decommissioning all throughout the lifecycle of the facility.
So as the facility is designed, commissioned, operated, modified and progresses through to the end of its life cycle some progress is always underway in its decommissioning. In this way, a draft plan and preps have been made ready and its just a matter of finalizing a conceptual plan, performing any final fine tuning of it and then getting the required approvals and implementing it.
No new nuclear facilities can be expected to be capable of being constructed if the existing ones are not dealt with in a cost-effective and optimized manner.
The Argonne “Facility Decommissioning” training course will also serve to facilitate decommissioning at operating facilities and at facilities in design so that they are READY for the eventual decommissioning of their facilities whenever that occurs in the end.