Tips on Beginning the Site Decommissioning Process

Tips on Beginning the Site Decommissioning Process

When a facility nears the end of its life, as it can no longer be used or updated, it’s likely to be sold or decommissioned. If the latter is needed, suddenly the asset becomes a legacy liability and a financial burden on the parent company. Now, there’s pressure to immediately begin decommissioning to reduce risks, relieve financial obligation, and show results to the stakeholders and community.

The tendency for many owners is to pull the trigger as quickly as possible. However, this should be viewed as a time for strategic, measured movement that will dictate whether the project is completed safely, successfully, and absent of roadblocks, unnecessary costs, and potential missteps.

Ideally, decommissioning plans should be completed before and during the end of operations. Early scope definition, detailed decommissioning plans, and risk assessment and management are essential elements for effective and efficient decommissioning projects.

To position such a project for success, it is integral to produce the following early on:
· Specific objectives that are measurable and agreed on
· A project team tasked with clearly defined roles and responsibilities
· A detailed scope of work and plans with hazards and controls clearly identified, integrating safety in all aspects
· Accurate materials/waste inventories and waste management plans (including volume/quantity estimates, treatment, containerization, storage, waste acceptance criteria, and disposition pathways) in place to meet and exceed environmental, safety, and health standards and regulations
· Accurate cost estimate and an approved budget
· Realistic production schedule
· Careful understanding of project risk with effective mitigations strategies in place

While a company’s gut reaction may be to hit the eject button as quickly as possible, rushing into decommissioning can prove to be more detrimental than effective. Reich Brothers always recommends calm, strategic evaluation to develop a strong decommissioning strategy. Early planning ensures thoughtful, well-defined project scope and objectives, the elimination of missteps and unplanned expenses, stakeholder support, safety, and the end goal: a decommissioned site that preserves the value and integrity of its original owner.

Source: Nuclear Decommissioning Report’s Nov. 25, 2015 article, “Early & Detailed Decommissioning Project

Planning Charts the Course for Success”