CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) is both the operator of important nuclear facilities all over the nuclear cycle, in charge of major new built or D&D projects and a R&D group with dynamic policy of technology transfer. The position of CEA in D&D is unique because of the number and the wide diversity of facilities under decommissioning, with some high level of contamination.
Innovative solutions are thus being developed in 6 main axes to protect the operators, to minimize the overall costs and the volumes of waste:
• Investigations in the facilities
• Radiological measurement of waste
• Robotics, laser cutting devices, virtual reality to simulate and choose the best way to operate,
• Decontamination of soils and structures
• Waste treatment and conditioning
• Methods and Information Technology (IT)Tools for project and waste management
CEA developed tools for its own D&D projects when they didn’t exist yet on the market: robots, tele-operated equipment, cutting process and software for validation and optimization of intervention scenarios.
Concerning decommissioning and environmental remediation (D&ER), there appears to be a general consensus:
• Significant redundancy exists in current R&D programmes for D&ER being undertaken in different countries, though often no basis for industrial competition exists, e.g. on methods for treatment of exotic waste or for conditioning of intermediate and high activity waste;
• Project managers are often reluctant to use innovative technologies and need confidence from pilot operations with successful results to minimize project risks;
• Individual countries are finding it increasingly difficult to justify expenditure on developments that can require up to 10 years to complete; and
• Many possibilities exist to promote exchanges of information and lessons learnt but, beyond these, there is an urgent need to promote and organize at multinational level, the co-financing of R&D developments by actors with common objectives.
As a forerunner to the establishment of a framework for collaboration on R&D activities related to D&ER, it is proposed firstly to undertake a study to provide the following outputs:
• A mapping of the needs of D&ER projects, R&D programmes, human resources and platforms currently available;
• Identification of candidate topics for international financial collaboration, identification of actors involved with current sources of funding and rough business plans and schedules;
• Choice of financial and organizational model after benchmarking in other fields; and
• Proposal for an implementation schedule for projects that may begin immediately with varying timeframes for implementation, with the main focus being on projects taking place over the next 5-10 years.