ChNPP Decommissioning Strategy

According to the National program of  Chernobyl NPP decommissioning and Shelter object transformation into ecologically safe system and taking into account world and local experience, normative documents of Ukraine and an actual status of ChNPP site, decommissioning is carried out in few stages:

1. Shut down (preparatory stage for decommissioning) - stage during which nuclear fuel will be removed and transported in the Spent Fuel Storage Facility intended for long-term storage. The current stage - during which the major task, defining stage duration, is carried out – nuclear fuel should be removed from power units. Time for completion is not earlier than 2014.

2. Final shutdown and preservation of reactor installations. During this stage preservation of reactors and most radioactively contaminated equipment (roughly till 2028) will be carried out.

3. Safe enclosure of reactor installations for the period during which natural decreasing of radioactivity up to the acceptable level should occur (roughly till 2045).

4. Dismantling of reactor installations. During this stage the equipment will be dismantled and site will be cleaned with the purpose to release in maximum restrictions and regulatory control (roughly till 2065).

Identification of ChNPP final status

Since the ChNPP is located within the area that was radioactively contaminated as a result of the 1986 accident and some engineering structures of Unit 3 are common with the Shelter Object, the end goal of decommissioning ChNPP is such a condition that conventionally may be called a ‘brown spot’. The ‘brown spot’ is a condition of a site, where dismantling of equipment, structures, and buildings is complete and radioactivity of engineering structures, being the sources of ionizing radiation, is within the levels established for a restricted release from regulatory control. Actually, this is a cleanup of the site and engineering structures down to the contamination level similar to the one present within the Exclusion Zone around the ChNPP and resulting from the 1986 accident. However, in the current context such a final status of the ChNPP site is economically inadvisable.

Decommissioning tasks

According to the requirements of General provisions of Safety assurance during Nuclear Power Plants and Research Nuclear Reactors decommissioning, the following tasks should be performed during ChNPP decommissioning:
1. Safety assurance during Units 1,2,3 decommissioning.
2. Protection of the personnel, population and environment against harmful influence ionizing radiations and protection of the future generations.
3. Bringing of power units 1,2,3 in a condition excluding possibility of subsequent use of this power installations for the purposes for which they have been constructed.
4. Performance of a complex of measures to achieve at the territory occupied by units 1,2,3 and auxiliary constructions, conditions which as much as possible reduce restriction for utilization of this territory. That stipulates:
- Step-by-step liberation fro9m ionizing radiation sources, subject to the control;
- A cancellation of restrictions and reductions of the radiation control in supervision zone and in sanitary - protective zone of ChNPP.

Preparation for decommissioning

Over the past five years, development of the conceptual documents concerning the Chernobyl NPP power units decommissioning was completely finished. Before 2009, ‘The Comprehensive Program of the Chernobyl NPP Decommissioning’ approved by Resolution No. 1747 issued by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on 29 November 2000 was the principal national-level document that guided activities for the Chernobyl NPP power units decommissioning and transformation of the Shelter Object into an ecologically safe system.

In 2009, following adoption of the Law of Ukraine titled ‘On the National Program for the Chernobyl NPP Decommissioning and Transformation of the Shelter Object into an Ecologically Safe System’, the Comprehensive Program became out-of-date and ceased to be effective. The National Program describes strategies for decommissioning the Chernobyl NPP units and transformation of the Shelter Object into an ecologically safe system. Also, the document includes estimation of funding needs and a list of top-priority activities (till 2013) required to implement the strategies.


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