Innovation projects within the field of decommissioning

IFE is one of the leaders in technology development and research in the energy, environmental, petroleum and the nuclear sectors. IFE has a broad portfolio of energy and other industry-related research and development activities and is the first International Collaborating Centre of the IAEA in the field of decommissioning.

IFE has been developing VR&AR applications for radiation visualisation since 1996 and manages the OECD Halden Reactor Project (HRP) research programme, which includes activities dedicated to human-centred research related to nuclear decommissioning. Through systemic gap analyses activities, IFE has been mapping challenges, lessons learned, and innovation opportunities for nuclear decommissioning on various (international, project) levels, with specific focus (but not limited to) application of 3D simulation-enhanced techniques. The main research questions are related to if, where, and how digitalisation should be applied today and in the near future to improve current practices.

Conclusions indicate that innovative digital concepts are necessary in case of decommissioning projects with difficult radiological conditions (e.g. Fukushima and Chernobyl), and can significantly enhance ‘normal’ decommissioning projects, especially if applied early and in a holistic way (instead of specific tasks only). Some of the cross-cutting benefits are related to early planning capabilities, information-centric regulatory interaction, enhanced traceability of decisions, and agility (preparedness for changes and emergencies). In addition to enhanced training capabilities, the application of digital concepts can greatly contribute to human resource development issues through motivating people (especially the young generation) and providing generally applicable skills.

Digital innovation of real-life decommissioning projects has been supported by IFE in industrial application activities for more than 30 years. New techniques are being developed, piloted tested, and implemented at decommissioning sites, supported by IFE since 1995 when the first application was deployed at the Fugen NPP in Japan. IFE has been assisting real-life projects at nuclear sites by providing customized software solutions, as well as services based on the techniques mentioned above for enhancing safety (ALARA, As Low As Reasonably Achievable) evaluation and demonstration, briefing and training of field workers, management of radiological safety-critical plant information and planning of work procedures. IFE has, for many years, been contributing to planning and safe implementation of decommissioning work at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Ukraine, the Leningrad Nuclear Plant and in the Andreeva Bay area in Russia, and the Fugen NPP in Japan, and is engaged in a number of other nuclear decommissioning projects around the world.