Decontamination and Decommissioning
Argonne applies hands-on D&D experience to find solutions for surplus nuclear reactors.

n Introduction

Decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of surplus nuclear reactors represents a major challenge for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the commercial nuclear industry, and other owners of reactors. Recognizing the magnitude of this problem, Argonne National Laboratory has established a D&D Technology Center to address the needs of DOE sites, commercial utilities, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensees, the international community, technology developers, and D&D-integrating contractors. The center focuses on four D&D areas: operations, technologies, technical services, and education.

Argonne has gained extensive hands-on D&D experience through its on-site programs. Five major D&D projects have been completed at the Laboratory: a 100-MW(t) prototype boiling water reactor, a 200-kW(t) biological irradiation reactor, a spent fuel examination hot-cell facility, a plutonium glove box facility, and an accelerator facility. Argonne's CP-5 reactor was the site of DOE's first Large-Scale Demonstration Project of D&D technologies: 23 innovative techniques were evaluated.

Argonne has developed and applied improved risk-based approaches to cleanup and release criteria, regulatory standards, and transportation guidelines. The Laboratory has conducted workshops and courses sponsored by DOE, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and others. Argonne is also responsible for DOE's TechCon programs, which provide an extensive database of remediation technologies.

Deregulation of the U.S. electric power industry has brought D&D to the forefront in planning by utility companies - major liabilities are associated with surplus nuclear facilities. Argonne's expertise can reduce the cost and environmental risk of D&D operations.

n Operations

Plan D&D projects, including developing procedures and contracting strategies.

Perform independent assessments of contractor operations.

n Technology

Recommend best technologies for a particular project.

Develop deployment strategies for innovative technologies.

Perform chemical-based decontamination of metal surfaces, soil, and other materials.

n Technical Analysis

Plan and implement facility and site characterizations.

Develop low-level waste strategies based on risk assessments.

Develop and review cost estimates.

Perform safety and environmental analyses.

n Contacts

For technical information, contact Tom Yule, Argonne National Laboratory, Bldg. 207, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439; phone: 630/252-6740; e-mail:

For information on working with Argonne, contact Paul Eichamer, Industrial Technology Development Center, Argonne National Laboratory, Bldg. 201, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439; phone: 800/627-2596; fax: 630/252-5230.

February 1998

Argonne National Laboratory is operated by The University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract No. W-31-109-Eng-38.

Argonne D&D specialists remove components from the CP-5 reactor.