IAEA highly appreciated the results of technical assistance project implementation at ChNPP

In 2011 the implementation of IAEA Technical Cooperation Project UKR 3/003 “Chernobyl NPP Units Decommissioning and Radioactive Waste Management at the Site Including Shelter Object” was completed. It was started in 2009 with the objective to assist the Government of Ukraine in fulfilling the tasks envisaged by a National Program of Chernobyl NPP Decommissioning, as well as in managing radioactive waste at the Chernobyl site.

The main areas of cooperation within the project were transfer of experience and knowledge in developing ChNPP decommissioning documentation, providing assistance on creation and improvement of RAW management system, including SO radioactive materials, assisting in a cooling pond decommissioning project, and improving enterprise’s management structure.

During 2009-2011 a considerable scope of work was performed within the framework of the project. One of the main forms of work was expert missions and workshops, more than 20 of which were carried out during the project implementation period. Topics of these events were defined by the ChNPP depending on their importance. Thus, for example, to support decommissioning were held the missions on reviewing separate sections of a Design for ChNPP Units Final Shutdown and Preservation stage, familiarization with dismantling technologies, decontamination methods and the possibility of their application at the ChNPP; preservation technologies, requirements for preservation zones and volumes of control, approaches to safety assessment at the FS&P stage.

During 26-30 September, 2011, a practical training of 25 specialists of the ChNPP and Exclusion Zone’s enterprises on using RESRAD codes to calculate exposure doses and hazards from residual radioactive material was carried out. The training was held by lectures from the USA Argonne National Laboratory. Each participant obtained the respective certificate.

The main achievement within RAW management field was solution to the issues on management of liquid radioactive waste containing transuranium elements and organic substances by creating a pilot installation for purification of such RAW. These activities were performed with the assistance of the experts invited by IAEA from an Institute of Chemistry of the Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Vladivostok).

In September 2010 equipment for the pilot installation was supplied; its installation, pre-commissioning work and testing of purification technology were performed. The testing results appeared to be quite prospective, though required some improvement. For this purpose a specification was prepared and equipment for the additional installation’s module was supplied in December 2011. Installation and setting up of the additional module will be performed during January-February 2012. Specialists from the Institute of Chemistry will again visit the ChNPP to perform this work. Following this an additional testing of the purification technology will be carried out and development of technical specifications on an industrial installation will be completed.

The successful development of SO water purification technology within the framework of IAEA project will enable the ChNPP to receive EC funding for creating the similar installation. This project has already been included into EC 2011 Action Plan. Thus, the IAEA assistance enabled to settle the important task on SO transformation into an ecologically safe system, which was excluded from SIP.

A start of activities on creating an Installation for Ash Paraffin Treatment at a Solid Radioactive Waste Processing Plant (SRPP) became another important step towards RAW management. After a visit to a RAW Processing Center at Bohunice NPP (Slovakia), similar to the ChNPP SRPP), our specialists emphasized the importance of ash paraffin treatment technology and introduction of such installation into the existing incineration facility for the optimum SRPP operation. Such installation will prevent from contamination of compressing chambers by radioactive dust when managing real radioactive waste. Slovak experts from the Bohunice NPP were invited to define the possibility of introducing a paraffin treatment installation. After their joint work with the ChNPP specialists a concept design was made. Now it is under review by the ChNPP specialists.

It is necessary to mark a progress achieved within the area of ChNPP cooling pond decommissioning. Several expert missions were held within the framework of the project. Experts in the field of radiobiology, radioecology, management of radioactively contaminated water ecosystems from France, the USA, IAEA, as well as representatives of a core committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), experts from a Ministry of Emergencies (ME), State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU), Ministry of Environment Protection, Ministry of Health, Chernobyl NPP and other stakeholders were involved into addressing the problem. A work scope in developing a Feasibility Study (FS), Environment Impact Report (EIR), Monitoring Program for the ChNPP cooling pond decommissioning, as well as definition of a final state of the object were analyzed. Several activities/tasks that can be performed involving the IAEA experts were also discussed. Thus, report documents on the cooling pond decommissioning, which will become a part of FS, are being developed upon request of ChNPP and under the IAEA funding.

The international experience was also involved to address the issues of implementing a process-based approach at ChNPP, quality management system and optimizing enterprise’s management. Approaches, experience and lessons learned in other countries during transition of NPP management system and organizational structure from operation to decommissioning were presented. In particular, the issues of segregation of non-core functions, prerequisites and criteria of transition from operational structure to a structure for decommissioning, planning of organizational changes, change of a total number of personnel and qualified staff ratio, decommissioning by own forces or using a contractor were addressed. The recommendations received from the IAEA are widely used during the planning of ChNPP management system changes.

In the course of the project implementation the ChNPP representatives took part in 8 international conferences and workshops, where they presented the ChNPP experience in the field of decommissioning and RAW management. More than 14 scientific visits for more than 40 ChNPP specialists were organized to the NPP sites, where the activities on decommissioning and RAW management are in progress.

The IAEA assistance became the important support to the Chernobyl NPP in fulfilling the tasks envisaged by the National Program of Chernobyl NPP Decommissioning. The IAEA also highly evaluated the results of UKR 3/003 project implementation and took a decision to assist the ChNPP also in 2012-2013 within the framework of a new technical cooperation national project. The project’s recipients are the SSE ChNPP and Exclusion Zone’s Centralized Enterprise on RAW Management.

All the abovementioned activities, significant for the ChNPP, in particular, expert evaluation of the design for FS&P stage, RAW management, including completing the activities on the pilot installation and installation for ash paraffin treatment, development of documents on the cooling pond decommissioning will be continued within the framework of the new IAEA project.

International Cooperation Department