As is customary, I would like to begin by stating that I consider it a great honor and privilege to be the chairman of the DD&R Division for the 2001-2002 year. I have the good fortune to have a set of exceptionally talented colleagues elected as Division Officers, with whom I will share the task of guiding the Division through an admittedly changing D&D environment. We are also beneficiaries of a very experienced, diverse and dedicated group serving on the Division’s Executive and Program Committees. With such an impressive group of professionals at the helm, the Division’s goals should be met in grand style.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Don Eggett, outgoing chair of the Division, for his tireless efforts on behalf of the Division, its programs and its members. Don has agreed to remain on the Executive Group of the Division, chairing the Nominating Committee and providing me with advice and counsel as needed.
Since there are a number of new members in the Division, it is appropriate to present a brief status of the Division. The DD&R Division is relatively new in ANS (formed in 1995 as the 18th ANS Division). It is currently fourth largest of the 19 ANS Divisions with a membership of 1250 (out of a total ANS membership of 10,014). Our membership has shown steady growth over the years and of the incoming new ANS members, 16% have joined DD&R. The Division budget has ranged from $17-32K, derived from ANS membership allocation, topical meeting income and endowments. The expenditures have ranged between $9-19K and have included student support, scholarships and newsletter expenses and, there is generally some carryover of funds into the following year. More information on the Division can be found on our website at www.ddrd.ans.org. Clearly, we have done well to date and have significant membership support. However, there are a number of issues that we as a Division, and members involved with D&D activities have to face.
The D&D landscape, as you have all observed, is changing. What appeared to be boom times for the
commercial D&D business only a few years ago, with all of the projected nuclear plant shutdowns, appears now to be a very limited market in the near term. This situation has been spurred by successful license extensions of the Calvert Cliffs and Oconee plants, and the recent energy shortage incidents in California which have led to the increased interest in producing energy from all power plants for as long as possible. All nuclear power plants that are in reasonable operating condition will undoubtedly go the life extension route.
In addition, the D&D activities within the Department of Energy are also proceeding at a much slower rate than anticipated. Despite the $6B annual budget of DOE’s EM program office, and the 2700 facilities currently on DOE’s D&D list, the amount allocated to D&D keeps decreasing each year because of the pressures from other Environmental Restoration activities, many of which are compliance driven. There had been closure dates assigned to several sites (e.g. ANL(E) for 2003), but budgetary shifts have pushed these dates into the undefined future. Thus, business opportunities at DOE sites are limited in the near term and quite uncertain. There are a large number of research and non power reactors around the world that have been shut down and are awaiting D&D. Unfortunately, availability of resources for D&D of these facilities is a major issue. It should be noted that a number of these reactor facilities are in countries with little nuclear infrastructure and technical assistance from experienced D&D organizations would be welcome, if resources could be made available.
Life extension of nuclear power plants is a reasonable goal, and since operating nuclear power plants are excellent sources of large amounts of electric power, we should all support this trend. I believe strongly that the best scenario for the DD&R Division and its members is for the D&D of nuclear reactor facilities to be an integral part of a thriving nuclear future in which there is continuing startup of new facilities that more than compensate in output power for the ones that are shut down at the end of their life. In an asymptotic condition, at any given point in time there would be plants in a construction mode, plants in an operating mode and plants in a shutdown and D&D mode. That is the best scenario for a healthy nuclear
future, of which all of us should want to be a part. An important point in our planning to integrate closer with future nuclear development is to develop plans to incorporate lessons learned from our D&D experiences to date into the design of the next generation reactors. It is clear that D&D was not an important consideration for the first generation reactor designers. In view of the large costs of the D&D of a nuclear power plant and associated facilities, and the safety and contamination risks involved, there is a very large payoff in the long run to design reactors with eventual D&D in mind. Consideration also needs to be given to waste and dose minimization (by suitable process and materials choices). The DD&R Division with its membership expertise in these areas can play a major role in this venture. We are planning to make a start on this with a session on this subject at the Reno ANS meeting this November. I hope many of you will be able to attend and contribute.
One benefit of the deferment of larger D&D activities is that it provides time to address in detail a range of issues that need satisfactory resolution to ensure safe, cost-effective D&D. These issues, developed in discussions with members of the Division, are listed below.
- D&D Technologies
- Characterization and Survey Methods/Approvals
- Site Release Criteria/Process
- Remote Monitoring (S/M)
- Specific Materials Issues (e.g., activated concrete)
- Specific Site Issues
- D&D Standards
- Spent Fuel Disposition
- D&D Cost Estimates/Validation
- Major Cost Drivers
- Tax Issues with D&D Fund
- DOC-Financial Considerations
- EPA Participation in Regulatory Issues
- New Rulemaking
- GTCC Ruling Impacts
- Impacts of License Renewals
- License Termination
- Public Education, Information, Participation
- Psychological Issues with D&D (vs. operations)
Our plan is to address these issues in the D&D sessions at ANS meetings and in topical meetings. I would like to see us generate technical position papers on the key issues based upon the presentations and discussions at these meetings.
One of the more significant things the Division can do for its membership and the industry at large is the development of D&D standards for various activities. Under the leadership of Neil Norman, a good start has been made in the preparation of three standards. However, considerably greater amount of effort is needed to complete these, and start on new standards. We should take as a goal the development and dissemination of a few new standards each year. Since Neil is planning to retire, Don Eggett has agreed to take on the chairmanship of the Division’s Standards Committee. Don and I will be calling on many of you to seek volunteers for the standards preparation effort.
Another issue that needs mention is that of Topical meetings. As you are all aware, the Topical meeting scheduled for September 2001 had to be cancelled, primarily because of a lack of volunteer manpower. This had several impacts, not the least of which was a great reduction in the Division’s income. As we have discussed in the past, there are probably too many conferences that dilute the technical impact of the papers and reduce attendance at any individual conference. We are attempting to co-sponsor joint Topical meetings with other Divisions (primarily the Fuel Cycle and Waste Management Division) in order to increase draw and also to consolidate meetings. A task force led by Patty Augustyn has had several
meetings on this and will provide a recommendation on an approach soon. Meanwhile, preparations are being made for a Topical meeting in San Diego in 2003.
I have raised a number of issues and questions about the current situation with the changing D&D
landscape and decreased opportunities in the conventional markets. We need to look ahead to what we need to do to sustain our vitality. For starters, we will have to place greater emphasis on re-utilization than we have to date. We will need to promote closer links between commercial/ government/international D&D activities in order to share information on opportunities, successes and lessons learned. We will need to co-sponsor significant topical meetings with other ANS Divisions in order to optimize resources and maximize attendance and participation. Finally, we will need to integrate our activities more closely with the overall nuclear power systems lifecycle development framework than we have in the past. These are
significant challenges, but I know we are up to meeting them. I look forward to working with you on these this year.
I look forward to a challenging and rewarding year for all of us.