The first part of the following, based on information from World Nuclear.

The cost of removal of installations for nuclear power is very little compared to the value of the power produced at the nuclear power plant.
Still it becomes subject to political plaything.
At least in the discussion.

Broadly, there are four different options.

  • “Now and here”
    Shortly after the shutdown the of the reactor, final demolition will start.
    Of course also, “everything else” such as cooling towers, turbines and administration buildings.
    In this way, the site can be released and it is possible to say that “Everything is forgotten.”
    This solution will naturally be the most expensive.
    How expensive will depend on political decisions about what should be classified as hazardous.
    See further down on this page.
  • “Just, wait a little”
    Of course, the reactor contents (fuel rods and cooling water) will be removed along with anything else that is easy to remove and might find other use.
    In that way: 99% of the radioactive material is removed.
    The radioactivity that remains is mainly due to neutron-activation of steel and others.
    It has a half-life of less than 5 years.
    After some 50 years this radioactivity to be reduced to less than 1/1000 of the initial value and final demolition will only cause political problems.
    Apparently it’s what is done in the United States.

In various media you can see how, with ill-concealed horror, it is reported that the cleanup will take a very long time.
Here, it is likely that this solution is going to be used.

  • “Just let it stay”Reaktor Findland
    The cheapest will obviously be to remove “all the loose” and let the reactor containment remain and save costs for demolition, at least for the time being.
    The reactor containment, seen in the background of the image, will only occupy a very little area.
    But opponents of nuclear power will of course consider this as a symbol of something terrible.
    In order to relate to something else, I note that, in Germany, it has been necessary to destroy huge areas of agricultural land for the strip-mining for brown coal.
  • “Mothballed”
    In the US, several power plants have been (temporarily?) unecunomic.
    Partly by the advent of cheap gas and partly as a result of subsidies for solar and wind.
    Preliminary (2016) it has apparently not been (politically) possible to maintain the power plants for later restart.

In this context, I would mention that, quite a long time ago, I calculated and detailed a parking garage with prestressed concrete.
Shortly later the owner got second thoughts.
He allowed all of it to remain standing.
Because it would be too difficult to demolish.
OK Eventually it has provided space for a residential property.

Ultimately, the choice of strategy will depend on the political climate and the criteria used to specify what will be defined as being dangerous.

Given the above, one is tempted to say that the conditions for demolition should be included in the license for building new plants.
Almost as if it would require an agreement related to a future divorce before you get married.

BUT
The confusion is almost total

Here, I quote from World Nuclear.

  • Recycling materials from decommissioned nuclear facilities is constrained by the level of radioactivity in them.
    This is also true for materials from elsewhere, such as gas plants.
    But the levels specified can be very different.
    For example, scrap steel from gas plants may be recycled if it has less than 500,000 Bq/kg (0.5 MBq/kg) radioactivity (the exemption level).
    This level however is one thousand times higher than the clearance level for recycled material (both steel and concrete) from the nuclear industry, where anything above 500 Bq/kg may not be cleared from regulatory control for recycling.

The reactor containment contains thousands of ton of concrete.
If it has to be checked and disposed of as a “dangerous radioactive material”, the costs can easily spiral out of control.

  • There is increasing concern about double standards developing
    in Europe which allow 30 times the dose rate from non-nuclear recycled materials than from those out of the nuclear industry.
    Norway and Holland are the only countries with consistent standards.
    Elsewhere, 0.3 to 1.0 mSv/yr individual dose constraint is applied to workers in the oil and gas industries.
    Compared to 0.01 mSv/yr for workers in the nuclear industry.
    This double standard means that the same radionuclide, at the same concentration, can either be sent to deep disposal or released for use in building materials, depending on where it comes from.
    The 0.3 mSv/yr dose limit for workers in the oil and gas industries is still only one tenth of most natural background levels, and two orders of magnitude lower than those experienced naturally by many people, who suffer no apparent ill effects.

For the record, I would mention that we, all of us carry with us some
4,500 Bq from natural sources and that the natural background radiation that we can not avoid is about 3 mSv/year
Several places considerably more.
BUT In Japan 1 mSv/year is defined as being dangerous.

As can be seen, there is much scope for interpretation and harassment.
All depending og the polical objective.
Especially if the aim is to discredit nuclear power.

From Decommissioning of nuclear power plants (Sweden) I quote:

  • Each year the owners of nuclear power plants pay an agreed sum to a fund that will pay for closure of the power plants.
    The money deposited will stay in the fund’s nuclear waste account with National Debt Office.
    The fee varies between 0.3 and 0.9 öre per kWh (0.1 US cent/kWh)
    Each year payment is fixed by the government.
    It is based on cost estimates from SKB submitted to the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate.
  • Around SEK 500 million flows into the fund annually in this way.
  • The book value of the fund at the end of 2004 was almost
    32 billion SEK.
  • The costs to close down a reactor is a little more than a billion kronor .
  • Despite the fact that nuclear power plants can have a life of 40-60 years, each plant has paid its share to the fund, after a period of 25 years.

The following will hopefully shed more light on the subject:

  • Some of the components two be disposed of in connection with decommissioning are long-lived and so radioactive that they have two be radiation-shielded.
    Such components mainly include control rods and other reactor internals.
    These components comprise only a very small portion of the total volume of decommissioning waste, but account for nearly all the radioactivity
  • We expect that more than 90% of the total shut-down waste can be released for unrestricted use, either directly or after cleaning.
    The exact percentage can not be given today, as it depends on what the conditions for unrestricted release will be.

Just for the record, I mention that a radioactive material can:
Either be “highly radioactive” (e.g. Iodine-131) or:
It can be “long-lived” (e.g. Thorium).
But it can’t be both.

Unless one turns into conspiracy theories, I think the topic is exhausted.

Yet,
I can not resist

From https://www.information.dk/udland/2016/08/groennes-dilemma
I quote as follows:
Ideally, local environmentalists would let the plant stand.
Although 300 men for over ten years had been engaged in removing the work into small chunks.
As a kind of practical joke the demolition workers recently sent a sack of ordinary fertilizers through the measuring instruments.
There was measured trace of potassium, uranium and lead.
If bag had come from the plant, it should be deposited as “dangerous material”.
But because it came from an ordinary store, the waste could end up in the fields.

Advertisements