International Conference on Lessons Learned from Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities and the Safe Termination of Nuclear Activities

11 - 15 December
Athens, Greece

Conference Proceedings NEW
Commercial Exhibits
Information for the participants Revised Tour information!
Tasks for Chairpersons, Keynote Speakers, Panellists
Hotel List
Hotel Reservation Form
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Participation Form (Form A): PDF, Word
Form for Submission of a Paper (Form B): PDF, Word
Grant Application Form (Form C): PDF, Word
Guidelines for Authors (PDF)

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The number of facilities that are undergoing or beginning decommissioning is increasing every year. As the nuclear industry becomes more mature, more facilities will begin implementing the decommissioning strategy most beneficial for them. As this happens, new organizations will be exposed to the joys and sorrows of the decommissioning process. Regulatory authorities will also have to adapt their work to accommodate this new set of activities. With any new activity there are difficult times and a learning curve for new participants.

Decommissioning activities have been performed since the early 1950’s and extensive experience has been gained. Over the years, the process has become more efficient and refined at the same time as attention to safety issues has increased. Historically, many mistakes were made and improved techniques were developed. New technologies have been developed which reduce radiation exposures, reduce cost and make the overall process more efficient. But this has been a slow process and there have been many times when trial and error methods were used and eventually the best process selected and passed on to other projects. In many cases, an organization will only plan and implement a decommissioning project once during its existence. The industry must learn from the activities of past pioneers in the decommissioning field.

Therefore, the time seems to be ripe for an extensive information exchange among decision makers, regulators, radiation and waste safety specialists, and the nuclear industry on lessons that have been learned during the planning and implementation of past decommissioning projects. This is the main reason for the IAEA to convene an International Conference on Lessons Learned from the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities. One of the purposes of this conference is to assist in reducing the learning curve for new participants in the decommissioning process, especially for smaller facilities including those that use naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). The lessons learned from one organization can have a significant beneficial impact on organizations starting the decommissioning process for the first time, especially for Member States with limited nuclear programmes.

An international conference was held in October 2002 on specific issues (e.g., removal of controls, social issues, funding, planning, etc.) that resulted in an International Action Plan on Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities. An international workshop co-sponsored by the NEA/IAEA/European Commission was held in Rome, Italy, in September 2004 that allowed discussion of topics to determine if all key issues are being addressed. The present conference may be seen as following on from these meetings by addressing the subject from a more practical perspective.

Major lessons learned that have been identified during the planning and implementation of past and ongoing decommissioning projects that will be discussed during this conference include:

  • Regulation of decommissioning activities – What kinds of resources are needed within a regulatory body to successfully control the process? How does a regulatory body ensure that decommissioning activities will be performed safely? What have been the major issues when reviewing a decommissioning project? What impacts may legislative and regulatory constraints have on decommissioning projects? At what point can a license be terminated?
  • Planning for decommissioning – When should planning begin? What pitfalls should be avoided and what positive points should be stressed during the planning for decommissioning? How to begin the process for facilities that have been shutdown for extended periods? What factors were considered when selecting the decommissioning strategy?
  • Implementation of decommissioning activities – What have been the major issues during decommissioning and how can these issues be mitigated? What can be the impact of these issues on the project, worker and public? What does an efficient decommissioning organization look like? What are the major managerial issues in the decommissioning process? What ways have been found during the implementation to reduce decommissioning costs?
  • Small facilities – How does the planning and implementation of decommissioning activities differ between large (NPP) and small (research laboratories) facilities? What problems do small facilities face and how have they been overcome? What would be the best approach for establishing a lessons learned programme that would benefit new comers to decommissioning and small facility owners?
  • Management of decommissioning wastes — What kinds of waste may be encountered? How should these wastes be managed safely? What are the issues if facilities are dismantled without final disposal arrangements being in place? What options are available? Are there any waste streams generated during decommissioning that require special attention?
  • Technology concerns — What problems have been encountered with certain types of technologies? Are there any new technologies needed?
  • Social and economic impact of decommissioning activities — How do you keep the public informed during the entire decommissioning process? What techniques have been successful and which ones have been disasters? Who are the stakeholders during the decommissioning process?

The objective of the conference is to foster information exchange on the safe and efficient termination of practices that involve the use of radioactive substances and to promote improved coherence internationally on strategies and criteria.


The following main topics will be covered:

  • Evolution of national and international policies and criteria for the safe and efficient decommissioning of nuclear facilities and safe termination of nuclear activities;
  • Review of lessons learned from ongoing or completed activities associated with decommissioning;
  • Improvement of safety and efficiency through the use of new and innovative technologies;
  • Practical aspects in the management of material, waste and sites resulting from decommissioning, including the management of waste in the absence of repositories and waste acceptance requirements;
  • Procedures for demonstrating compliance with clearance criteria;
  • Experience from radiological assessments associated with decommissioning;
  • Involvement of the local communities and the impact that decommissioning activities has on them.

Those attending the conference are expected to include government officials: senior policy makers at the ministerial level; persons from regulatory bodies and their technical experts; and persons responsible for the operation and decommissioning of facilities and their experts. The conference is directed at a broad spectrum of professional disciplines, including health physics, environmental engineering, project management, mechanical and civil engineering, radiation protection, radioactive waste management and radiological assessment. This conference will cover not only nuclear fuel cycle and power facilities but also smaller facilities such as research, laboratories and manufacturing facilities using NORM.


The conference programme will be based on the following approach:

  • An opening session will set the conference objectives and provide background information on the status and trends in the decommissioning of facilities.
  • A sequence of topical sessions will examine the relevant issues. The major issues in each session will be introduced by senior experts. Ample time for discussion will be provided. Panel sessions will provide an opportunity for a more intensive exchange of views on important issues with the audience. A number of controversial issues will be addressed in round table discussions. Appointed chairpersons will draw conclusions from the presentations and discussions.
  • Poster sessions will be organized for presentation of contributed papers.
  • A closing session will summarize the principal observations made during the conference.

Scientific visits to facilities that will eventually require decommissioning will be offered. Related exhibits will be displayed during the conference.

Limited space will be available for commercial vendors" displays/exhibits during the conference. Interested parties should see the conference web site for details.


Papers on subjects falling within the scope of the conference may be submitted as contributions to the conference. These papers will not normally be presented orally but will be issued in a book of contributed papers, which will be published in advance of the conference and distributed to all participants upon registration. Authors of contributed papers are encouraged to present the substance of the paper in the form of a poster. Comments or questions on contributed papers can be raised at the appropriate topical session.

Deadline for Submission of Contributing Papers

Contributed papers and posters are required to reach the IAEA by 1 September 2006. The papers may be sent directly by e-mail to In addition to the electronic submission, a hard copy of the paper must also be submitted through one of the competent official authorities (see Section 9), together with a completed Form for Submission of a Paper (Form B) and the Participation Form (Form A), to reach the IAEA also by 1 September 2006.

Authors will be informed whether their papers have been accepted for inclusion in the book of contributed papers and, as appropriate, for presentation as a poster. The IAEA, however, reserves the right to refuse the presentation or publication of any paper that does not meet the expectations based on the information given in the abstract. Guidelines for the preparation and submission of contributed papers and posters will be sent together with the acceptance of the abstract. The template to be used for the preparation of the manuscript is provided on the conference web site.


The proceedings of the conference will be published by the IAEA as soon as possible after the meeting.

A preliminary programme of the conference is available on the conference web site ( The final programme and the book of contributed papers will be distributed on registration at the conference site.


All persons wishing to participate in the meeting are requested to complete a Participation Form (Form A) and send it as soon as possible to the competent official authority (Ministry of Foreign Affairs or national atomic energy authority) for subsequent transmission to the IAEA. A participant will be accepted only if the Participation Form is transmitted through the government of a Member State of the IAEA or by an organization invited to participate.

Participants whose designations have been received by the IAEA will be notified directly before the meeting.

There is no deadline for registration of participants in the conference.


As a general rule, the IAEA does not pay the cost of attendance, i.e. travel and living expenses, of participants.

The costs for the organization of the meeting are borne by the IAEA and the Host Government.

No registration fee is charged to participants.


The working language of the conference will be English. All communications, including abstracts and contributed papers, must be sent to the IAEA in English.


Detailed information on accommodation and other administrative arrangements are available on the conference web site (see Section 17).

13. VISA

Participants who require a visa to enter Greece should submit the necessary application to the nearest consular representative of Greece as soon as possible. Please note that Greece is a Schengen State and therefore persons who require a visa will have to apply for a “Schengen visa” at least 14 days before entry into Greece at a competent mission.


The conference is being organized by the IAEA and hosted by the Government of Greece through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic and the Greek Atomic Energy Commission.

The Conference Secretariat is supported by a Programme Committee and an Organizing Committee.

Scientific Secretariat of the Conference:

Ms. Borislava Batandjieva
Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety
International Atomic Energy Agency
P.O. Box 100
Wagramer Strasse 5
A-1400 Vienna, Austria

Telephone No.: (+43-1) 2600-22553
Telefax No.: (+43-1) 26007
E-mail address for paper submission:

Mr. Michele Laraia - Technology Issues
Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology
International Atomic Energy Agency
P.O. Box 100
Wagramer Strasse 5
A-1400 Vienna, Austria

Telephone No.: (+43-1) 2600-22852
Telefax No.: (+43-1) 26007

Administration and organization:

Ms. Karen Morrison
Division of Conference and Document Services
Conference Services Section
International Atomic Energy Agency
P.O. Box 100
Wagramer Strasse 5
A-1400 Vienna, Austria

Telephone No.: (+43-1) 2600-21317
Telefax No.: (+43-1) 26007