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Decommissioning & dismantling

Nuclear installations are decommissioned and dismantled at the end of their operational use. Among experts, the term decommissioning covers all measures carried out after a nuclear power plant has been granted a decommissioning licence until nuclear regulatory supervision is no longer necessary.

The aim is to restore the natural initial state that existed before the construction of the nuclear power plant: the so-called " greenfield". The complete process usually takes about 20 to 25 years.

Our tasks

Our work in the field of decommissioning is mainly carried out for the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Our experts deal with the following topics:

  • further development of the German regulatory framework for decommissioning 
  • evaluation of concepts and techniques for the dismantling of nuclear installations
  • evaluation of current decommissioning projects
  • occupational radiation protection during decommissioning
  • waste management and release of radioactive materials 
  • participation in national and international committees (e.g. Nuclear Waste Management Commission (ESK), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA))

Project highlights Decommissioning

GRS-Projektleiter Matthias Dewald am Detektor der AMS-Anlage der Kölner Universität. Hier werden die gesuchten Radionuklide gezählt, nachdem sie durch zwei Massenspektrometer und einen Beschleuniger von den übrigen Ionen aus der Probe getrennt wurden (Quelle: GRS)
Determining radioactive waste with accelerator mass spectrometry
2019 - 2022

The mineral graphite is used in some types of reactors and can be activated by neutron radiation, i.e. converted into radioactive isotopes. In order to select a suitable disposal option, the graphite must be thoroughly examined radiologically. However, many measuring methods are relatively costly and in turn produce new radioactive waste themselves. A team of researchers from GRS and the University of Cologne is therefore developing a method with which reactor graphite can be characterised quickly and reliably.