ITRC Documents Associated with this Topic

The Radionuclides training courses address characterizing radioactively contaminated sites, cleanup goals, decontamination and decommissioning, and long-term stewardship.

Decontamination and Decommissioning of Radiologically-Contaminated Facilities

The decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of radiologically-contaminated facilities presents numerous challenges. Many tasks are involved, each of which requires adherence to a complex array of federal and state regulations and policies, attention to health and safety issues for workers and the public, monitoring and management of schedules and costs, and interaction with a potentially large number of stakeholders who have an interest in the present activities and future plans for sites undergoing D&D. Since large-scale D&D operations at nuclear facilities began in the 1970s, one of the most noticeable advances has been dramatic decreases in decommissioning cost. This change is the result of a combination of accumulated decommissioning operational experience reducing the high initial cost estimates (which were high due to uncertainties and poorly defined boundaries), evolution of regulatory guidance, and continuously-developing technologies.

A large body of knowledge has already been accumulated on D&D operations. At the present time, approximately 90 commercial power reactors, 250 research reactors, 100 mines, 5 reprocessing facilities, and 14 fuel fabrication plants have been retired from operation, with some having been fully dismantled. In addition, the largest environmental cleanup projects ever undertaken are in progress or have recently been completed at several large DOE facilities in the nuclear weapons complex. Technologies developed for the D&D portions of these cleanups are part of the lessons learned from these projects.

This training introduces regulators, cleanup contractors, site owners/operators, and technology providers to ITRC's Technical/Regulatory Guidance, Decontamination and Decommissioning of Radiologically-Contaminated Facilities (RAD-5, 2008), created by ITRC's Radionuclides Team. The curriculum is composed of four modules as follows:

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Radiation Risk Assessment - Updates and Tools

The ITRC Radionuclides Team's Determining Cleanup Levels at Radioactively Contaminated Sites: Case Studies (RAD-2, 2002) examines the factors influencing variations in cleanup level development at various radioactively contaminated sites and underscores the need for training to enhance consistency in radiation risk assessment application. The document also acknowledges the differences between the 'dose approach' used at some sites and EPA's 'risk-based approach.' Since most radioactively contaminated DOE and DOD sites are developing cleanup goals under CERCLA authority, there is a need for training that clarifies the variations between these approaches and elaborates on the methodology used to develop risk-based remediation goals. This training course has been collaboratively developed by the ITRC Radionuclides Team and EPA's Superfund Office to meet these needs. The focus of this training is EPA's new radiation risk assessment tools, which can facilitate better decision making for accelerated cleanups. Course modules have the following specific purposes:

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Radiation Site Cleanup - CERCLA Requirements and Guidance

The ITRC Radionuclides Team's Determining Cleanup Goals at Radioactively Contaminated Sites: Case Studies (RAD-2, April 2002) examines the factors influencing variations in cleanup level development at various radioactively contaminated sites and underscores the need for training to enhance consistency in remedy selection for radiological contaminants. Since most radioactively contaminated DOE and DOD sites are developing cleanup goals under CERCLA authority, there is a need for training that elaborates on the methodology used to select remedies under EPA's approach for CERCLA sites.

This training course has been collaboratively developed by the ITRC Radionuclides Team and EPA's Superfund Office to meet these needs. Its focus is EPA's guidance for remediating radioactively contaminated sites, which can facilitate cleanups that are consistent with the way chemical contaminants are addressed, except where technical differences posed by radiation are addressed. In addition to cleanup and its associated guidance, this course introduces the participants to long-term stewardship (LTS) challenges related to large radioactively contaminated sites. This understanding of LTS issues is integral to the cleanup process and decisions made at the radiation sites. Course modules have the following specific purposes:

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Real-Time Measurement of Radionuclides in Soil

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sites and some Superfund and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) sites are contaminated with radionuclides. Radioactive contamination is also an issue potentially faced by Homeland Security. Characterization of radionuclides is an expensive and time-consuming process. Using real-time technologies to complete initial screening and characterization of radionuclide contamination results in more timely and cost-effective characterizations. Real-time technologies can also direct excavation resulting in more timely and cost-effective cleanups. The result is earlier protection of human health and the environment.

This training introduces state regulators, environmental consultants, site owners, and community stakeholders to ITRC's Technology Overview document Real-Time Measurement of Radionuclides in Soil: Technology and Case Studies (RAD-4, 2006), created by ITRC's Radionuclides Team. This training provides information on the basics of real-time measurement systems (detector types and platforms, location control and mapping technologies, surface and subsurface applications and limitations), how the technologies and data are used (characterization, remediation and closure, decision support, sources and types of uncertainty), acceptance issues (QA/QC, decision framework, uncertainty), and case studies. The purpose is to provide a solid background understanding of the technology itself and the context within which it is used.

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