Entombent an option for decommissioning

30 October 2001

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has concluded that entombent may be a viable option for decommissioning a nuclear plant. Entombment can reduce radiation exposure to workers, as well as reduce the need to transport radioactive materials from the plant to a disposal site.

Before it prepares a proposed rule to alter its regulations to allow entombment, the NRC is seeking public comment on several options.

The first, applied on a case-by-case basis, would permit entombment through exemption to existing regulations. The second would amend the current decommissioning timeframe. Current regulations require that all decommissioning activities be completed within 60 years after a plant permanently stops operating, unless otherwise specified. The third would include rulemaking to establish criteria for an entombed facility.

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