Chapter 16


Characterization is an essential and substantial part of decommissioning. An initial scoping survey must be done to identify personnel hazards and to develop a decommissioning plan. Detailed characterization data must be collected to determine the type and extent of contaminants before any actual decontamination or dismantling. Surveys must be done during decontamination to test the effectiveness of the efforts; they may be either the in-process type or post-decontamination, or both. A final status survey is required, and a confirmatory survey may also be required to document the facility end-state, In addition, should the facility be placed in some form of long-term or interim storage, it will be necessary to characterize the remaining radioactive material and hazardous chemical waste to support long-term stewardship requirements. Such extensive characterization efforts contribute substantially to the overall cost of a decommissioning project.

No single technology can address the full spectrum of requirements for facility and material characterization. Decommissioning managers must identify the appropriate suite of characterization methods needed to thoroughly characterize the facility throughout the life of the project. Often, characterization methods are used in combination with one another to take advantage of the strengths and compensate for the limitations of each method. State-of-the-art characterization technologies show one or more of the following competitive discriminators:

- Reduced labor to conduct the characterization activities

- Improved data management, including automated generation of data reports

- Practical application of standard laboratory practices in the field

- Improved data accuracy, precision, and detection limits

- Deployment of survey devices into inaccessible locations

- Reduced radiation/chemical dose by using remotely deployed instruments

- Improved operation

- Reduced training and education requirements

- Real-time or near real-time generation of data

- The easily read data, and interpretation thereof

- Acceptance of results by regulators

  • 16.1 Introduction
  • 16.2 Technologies
  • 16.3 Description of Select Technologies
  • 16.3.1 Radiological Survey Tools
  • 16.3.2 Pipe Survey Tools
  • 16.3.3 Versatile Survey Tools

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