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July 2000
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Armenia
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Armenia

Agreements reached on preliminary decommissioning plan for Armenia

In mid-July, three U.S. specialists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory traveled to Yerevan, Armenia, in support of the preliminary decommissioning plan for Armenia NPP. The objectives of the trip were

to deliver the decommissioning cost model being developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and obtain agreement on the decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) scenarios and cost-estimating assumptions

to obtain agreement on the radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management options to be evaluated in support of decommissioning

to coordinate the activities and results of this project with a separte D&D project funded by the Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS) program

to review the status/progress of the project deliverables being produced by Atomservice and Armenia NPP.

The U.S. specialists held extensive discussions with representatives of Atomservice, Armenia NPP, Decontamination and Radioactive Waste Management Shop, the Ministry of Energy, Department of Atomic Energy, and the Armenia Nuclear Regulatory Administration (ANRA). For plant D&D, it was agreed that four options would be evaluated: 1) prompt decontamination and dismantlement of contaminated facilities, 2) prompt entombment (in-place disposal) of the reactor building, 3) safe storage for 50 years followed by decontamination and dismantlement of contaminated facilities, and 4) safe storage for 50 years followed by entombment of the reactor building. For spent nuclear fuel management, it was agreed that the major option to be evaluated would be expansion of the existing dry-storage facility to provide dry storage of all spent fuel on site indefinitely. Another option that is to be considered is return of the spent fuel to Russia for interim storage and/or final disposition.

For radioactive waste management, the options to be evaluated are more complicated and are dependent on the specific plant decommissioning option being evaluated. In summary, for high-active waste, two options are to be evaluated: 1) retrieve the waste from its current dry-storage facility and provide interim storage of the waste with the spent fuel in the dry-storage facility and 2) encapsulate the waste in place. For low-level waste, the options are to 1) retrieve the waste from the current dry-storage facility and encapsulate it in the reactor building and 2) convert the existing low-level waste interim storage facility into a disposal site for the waste and leave it in place. For intermediate-level waste, the options are to retrieve the waste from the current storage facility, then 1) treat as necessary and encapsulate in the reactor building and 2) treat as necessary and dispose in the converted low-level waste disposal facility.

Discussions with the Ministry of Energy revealed that two new laws relevant to decommissioning of Armenia NPP are being formulated. The first empowers the Armenia parliament as the only entity that can require the plant to shut down permanently for decommissioning. The Ministry of Energy no longer will be able to do this on its own. The second law will require the accumulation of a decommissioning fund (which currently amounts to about $2 million) through a surcharge on all electricity sold in the country. This surcharge currently is estimated to be about 1 dram per kilowatt-hour (about 2 mills per kilowatt-hour) but ultimately will be based on the decommissioning cost estimate in the preliminary decommissioning plan.

The TACIS representatives indicated that the European Commission has committed to provide funding of 10 million euros toward the shutdown and decommissioning of Armenia NPP. Most of this funding over the next few years is expected to be devoted to identifying and providing alternative energy sources to replace energy now provided by the plant. TACIS management has determined that the plant likely will not be shut down by 2004 and has agreed to provide an additional year (2005) of safety upgrade support to the plant.

Potential future decommissioning activities were discussed. Items of highest priority were

the development and implementation of a detailed plan to develop the regulatory framework for decommissioning, radioactive waste management, and spent fuel management

a detailed assessment of the major parameters driving the decommissioning cost estimate and how those parameters are impacted by conditions in Armenia

an environmental assessment and feasibility analysis of converting the existing low-level waste storage facility into a disposal facility for radioactive waste and/or using the Armenia NPP site as a radioactive waste disposal site

an assessment of the need and requirement for further treatment and processing of the intermediate-level and low-level wastes. (Dennis Meyers, DOE, 301-903-1418; Steve Short, PNNL, 509-375-2868) *


July 2000
Highlight
Armenia
Bulgaria
Czech Republic
Hungary
Kazakhstan
Lithuania
Russia
Slovakia
Ukraine
United States
Cross-Cutting Activities
Planned Activities

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The content was last modified on 08/18/2000 .

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