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What is nuclear decommissioning?

Yankee Rowe

Nuclear decommissioning is the process of dismantling and decontaminating a nuclear facility – for example, a nuclear power station, a uranium mine, a waste storage or reprocessing plant, or a military site – at the end of its operational life.

A site can only be considered fully decommissioned once all radioactive material has either been removed or decayed to a level safe enough that the site can be made available for other uses. Depending on the decommissioning strategy used, this can take decades. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the Environment Agency (or Scottish Environment Protection Agency) are the bodies responsible for overseeing, regulating and approving decommissioning activities in the UK.

Information sources

Decommissioning a nuclear power station

Nine of the UK's nuclear power stations have ceased operation and are at various stages of decommissioning.