Norwegian reactor dismantling to cost almost USD2 billion

The decommissioning of Norway’s shut down research reactors at Halden and Kjeller will cost around NOK20 billion (USD1.96 billion) and take 20-25 years, according to a report commissioned by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The report by Atkins and Oslo Economics mainly confirms assessments from the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) and risk management and quality assurance consultants DNV GL that were made in 2019. It estimates that demolition of facilities and restoration of the areas will cost around NOK7 billion. There will also be costs of around NOK13 billion for the treatment of used fuel and the storage of radioactive waste. However, it notes there is “considerable uncertainty” around these costs.

The JEEP-II research reactor at Kjeller (Image: IFE)

The report recommends cleaning up the sites so there are no restrictions on what the areas can be used for in the future. It is also recommends finding quick solutions for used fuel that will create the conditions for progress and reduce costs for security and emergency preparedness.

“There have been limited reactor operations in Norway, but we have complicated facilities and waste that will cost a lot,” said Minister of Industry Iselin Nybø. “The report shows how costly and lengthy that dismantling can be. The proposed measures will help to make the cleanup as efficient as possible.

“We will clean up to protect ourselves from harmful consequences for people and the environment from the radiation from this past industry,” Nybø added. “The investigation is part of the puzzle that is now being put in place to ensure a safe and effective cleanup. It will be considered thoroughly and planned to be addressed by the government in the autumn of 2020.”

Norway’s two research reactors – the nuclear fuel and materials testing reactor at Halden and the JEEP-II neutron scattering facility at Kjeller – were declared permanently shut down in June 2018 and April 2019, respectively. Their ownership and responsibility for them will move to Norwegian Nuclear Decommissioning (NND) from IFE.

NND, an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is responsible for decommissioning the research reactors and other related nuclear infrastructure. NND is also responsible for the safe handling, storage and disposal of nuclear waste in Norway.

(Researched and written by World Nuclear News)