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Decommissioning Policy for Nuclear Facilities Under the Spotlight

July 22, 2020

Department of Mineral Resources and Energy

The Discussion Paper on the National Decommissioning Policy for Nuclear Facilities has been drawn up.

The mineral resources and energy department seeks comment on the discussion paper until 18 August 2020.

In the foreword, the department points out that South Africa is at the point where the nuclear industry has to address the issues related to the decommissioning of nuclear facilities and a debate on the issues is required.

The financing of the decommissioning of nuclear facilities is one of the important issues that needs to be discussed.

Situational analysis conducted by the then energy department via international peer review missions such as the 2016 Integrated Regulatory Review Service Mission called for the strengthening of the legislative framework on nuclear decommissioning.

The plan is to improve the South African legal framework on decommissioning to ensure alignment with international best practices whilst addressing unique South African challenges.

The discussion paper sets out main policy issues in the area of nuclear decommissioning based on recommendations from international peer reviews.

Decommissioning is defined as “actions taken at the end of useful life of a facility, other than a repository or disposal facility, in retiring it from service with adequate regard for the health and safety of workers and members of the public and protection of the environment. Actions include shutdown, dismantling and decontamination, care and maintenance”.

The discussion paper focuses on decommissioning activities: international perspective; decommissioning: the South African perspective; the intent of the decommissioning policy and current situation and its implications.