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Methods & Practices Handbook



What is Deactivation?

Deactivation is the process of placing a radiologically or chemically hazardous facility into a safe and stable condition for interim storage prior to decommissioning and dismantlement. The goal of deactivation is to reduce risks to the workers, public and environment, and limit the long-term cost of surveillance and maintenance.

About This Site

The purpose of this handbook/WEB site is to make the deactivation experience readily available across the DOE complex. The practices, methods, and examples described are those previously and successfully used across DOE’s complex. They can be readily adapted to a wide range of projects and facilities, and can be used as well for stabilization activities that precede deactivation. This handbook/WEB site is represents a third tier of information that follows from DOE O 430.1B Chg 2, REAL PROPERTY AND ASSET MANAGEMENT and DOE G 430.1-3, DEACTIVATION IMPLEMENTATION  GUIDE.


The Department of Energy faces an enormous task in disposing of the nation's excess facilities. ("Facility" means a clearly delineated set of physical structures and associated equipment and material and not necessarily a single building.) There are many of these facilities, they are large and complex, geographically widespread and, in many cases, contain potentially hazardous industrial, chemical, nuclear, or radiological materials and conditions. Eventually, all must be decommissioned, but it is not possible to do so immediately and simultaneously for all facilities. ("Decommission" as used here refers to activities such as decontamination, entombment or demolition; that is, to place a facility in its final disposed-of condition.)

For excess facilities for which decommissioning funds are not immediately available, DOE’s overall strategy is to stabilize and deactivate, as soon as reasonable, either to address an imminent hazard or to reduce high surveillance and maintenance costs, or both. Stabilizing and deactivating means achieving a condition that is safe, stable, and economical to monitor and maintain for an extended period while awaiting final decommissioning. In this way, DOE can apply its resources to accomplish the greatest net gains in facility safety and stability in the shortest time.

In carrying out its mission, EM either "owns" or receives an excess contaminated facility from the program office that currently has responsibility for it, after the current program has conducted stabilization actions. After deactivation, management responsibility may be transferred to a different contractor for decommissioning and/or to other organizations for ultimate disposition. As a facility progresses from operation to decommissioning, it is important that the activities among life-cycle phases be smoothly integrated by respective project managers, regardless of the transferring or receiving organization.

Deactivation of excess facilities began in earnest during the 1990s. At that time, deactivation was a new concept leading to the development of approaches for project management and technical planning. Since then the subject areas of facility deactivation, as well as the closely related facility stabilization, have accumulated considerable experience and lessons learned. The information provided via this WEB site expands considerably upon originally published information. (Henceforth, the use of "handbook" refers to the entire body of information on this WEB site.)

The details here should be viewed as the experience of others who have deactivated facilities and not as mandatory requirements. It is also important to note that while this handbook focuses on deactivation, the processes and methods discussed can readily and effectively be used for transition, stabilization, and decommissioning. It is also noted that while the contents of this handbook relate directly to deactivation project management and project engineering, it provides only a limited set of what is needed for overall project planning and execution.

Excess Facility Life-Cycle Generic Cost/Time Profile

Figure A is a typical representation relative to the annual cost trends for the end of life cycle of an excess facility.  The annual cost trends reflected in Figure A are across five periods of an excess facilities life cycle:  1) Operations, 2) Transitions, 3) Deactivation, 4) Post-Deactivation Surveillance & Maintenance, and 5) Decommissioning.  [Note: The outlined boxes in the figure represent subjects addressed in this handbook.]  This Figure depicts an excess facility's transition from operations, transitioning through deactivation and extended term surveillance and maintenance, to ultimate decommissioning.  The concept is shown in the context of an annual cost profile (y-axis) and a timeline (x-axis).  
(Note - This figure is "idealized" for purposes of illustration since there is no generic profile that applies to any particular population of facilities.  For example, the spending profiles for some facilities are quite flat once deactivation starts.) 

Figure A - Excess Facility Life-Cycle Generic Cost/Time Profile

Figure B represents the three tiers while planning for the multiple aspects in dispositioning excess facilities and their associated processes and activities. 
(Note - This figure is "idealized" for the purposes of illustration.)


Figure B - For Additional information, SELECT a topic in the "Navigation Table to Hyperlinked Topics" to go to the topic of interest.


Navigation Table to Hyperlinked Topics

TIER - 1

DOE Order 430.1B Chg 2, Real Property and Assess Management

TIER - 2

Surveillance & Maintenance

TIER - 3

Facility Survey & Transfer
Project Management Plans - Stabilization Planning & Activities
Deactivation Management
Project Management Plans - Deactivation Planning & Activities
Deactivation Completion and Turnover
S&M - Requirements Based on S&M Review Process
Post Deactivation S&M
Decommissioning Documents
Decommissioning Handbook
End Points Management
End Points Specifications Methods
End Points Implementation Examples

Life Cycle Phases

The life cycle of a facility can typically be categorized into five periods (see also Figure A).

Period 1. Operations

Period 1 is characterized by an operating or shut down facility that is under the control of a program office other than EM. Once this program office establishes that there is no further need for the facility, it is declared excess and candidate for transfer to EM. Authorization for declaring a facility excess requires approval by DOE Headquarters.

Period 2. Transition

Transition occurs between operations and disposition in a facility’s lifecycle. Transition begins once a facility has been declared or forecast to be excess to current and future DOE needs. It includes placing the facility in stable and known conditions, identifying hazards and characterization the facility conditions, eliminating or mitigating hazards and conducting stabilization, and transferring programmatic and financial responsibilities from the operating program to the disposition program. In preparation for the disposition phase, it is important that material, systems, and infrastructure stabilization activities be initiated prior to the end of facility operations. Where possible, materials requiring special handling (e.g., classified equipment or nuclear materials) should be removed at shutdown.

At this juncture, DOE Headquarters coordinates with its field office counterpart (Field Office Manager) for the facility to reach agreement for transfer of the facility. The agreement defines the condition of the facility at turnover, consistent with requirements stated in DOE’s Life Cycle Management Order (see Scope and Applicability below).

During transition, a determination is made as to whether the facility will be either deactivated for reuse, deactivated in preparation for eventual decommissioning (decontamination and/or dismantling), or decommissioned immediately. The organization that will be responsible for follow on activities must be involved in this determination.

For some facilities an operational campaign may be required to establish stabilized conditions before proceeding to final shutdown. Examples include: 1) a run to process a large quantity of highly radioactive or chemically reactive liquids for the purpose of cleaning a process system, and 2) removal of nuclear fuel so an area can be made accessible.

Period 3. Deactivation

During this period surveillance and maintenance continues to assure public, environment, and worker safety. As deactivation proceeds, unneeded systems within the facility are terminated, additional hazard reduction may be conducted, and the surveillance and maintenance burden decreases commensurate with achieved risk reduction, resulting in a stable, low risk condition, which is economically and technically practical to maintain for an extended period. Update of safety documentation to reduce a nuclear facility's hazard classification will be of value to post-deactivation surveillance and maintenance.

Activities during this period, for example, include disposal of remaining hazardous chemicals, isolation of systems and equipment, and removal of valuable excess equipment. Appropriate characterization and documentation should be conducted for remaining contamination and waste, and for other sensitive materials that cannot be removed (chemical, hazardous, radioactive, fissile, nuclear fuel, special nuclear, and other accountable materials). This is to support safety updates, specifying deactivation end points, and planning post-deactivation surveillance and maintenance.

Period 4. Post-Deactivation Surveillance and Maintenance

The facility is in a safe storage mode, with ongoing, low levels of surveillance and maintenance. The general intent is that the facility be unoccupied and locked except for periodic inspections. If the period between completion of deactivation and beginning of decommissioning becomes extended, an occasional need for refurbishment or repair may be needed; for example, roof repairs, exhaust fan replacement, surveillance instrumentation maintenance, etc. Radioactive and hazardous materials may remain in the facility and are subject to ongoing regulatory oversight.

Period 5. Decommissioning

Based on DOE's resources, decommissioning and ultimate disposition of a facility will be scheduled in accordance with an overall national priority.

Scope and Applicability

This handbook supports the requirements of DOE Order 430.1B Chg 2, REAL PROPRTY AND ASSET MANAGEMENT and aids in the planning and implementation of stabilization, deactivation, and decommissioning activities at DOE facilities that have been declared excess to any future mission requirements.

Life-Cycle Asset Management (LCAM) requirements direct that DOE, in partnership with its contractors, shall plan, acquire, operate, maintain, lease, and dispose of physical assets in a safe and cost effective manner to meet DOE's mission. According to LCAM, this management of physical assets from acquisition through operations and disposition shall be a seamless process. LCAM further directs that industry standards, a graded approach, and performance objectives are to be used in managing an asset throughout its life-cycle, including the disposition phase. The disposition phase of an asset may consist of activities within any or all of the following categories: surveillance and maintenance, deactivation, and decommissioning.

This handbook provides contractors and DOE personnel with non-mandatory guidance and information about DOE's expectations on meeting existing requirements and DOE policies. Specifically, this handbook illustrates procedures and practices that are consistent with the acceptable methods and approaches discussed in the DOE G 430.1-3, DEACTIVATION IMPLEMENTATION GUIDE  and DOE G 430.1-5, TRANSITION IMPLEMENTATION GUIDE  . It does not itself impose any requirements. However, it may repeat requirements already imposed by DOE or other Federal agencies.

In addition to the orders and guides above, LCAM implementation is addressed in the following documents that are closely associated with the material in this handbook:

DOE/EM-0383, Decommissioning Handbook, Procedures and Practices for Decommissioning 
DOE/EH-413-1002, Facility Disposition: Principles for Accelerated Project Management

Integrating Safety into Activities

Stabilization and deactivation should be conducted with comprehensive attention to worker, public, and environmental safety. Emphasis on safety is currently done by reference to specific sections of DOE-STD-1120-98, INTEGRATION OF ENVIRONMENT, SAFETY AND HEALTH INTO FACILITY DISPOSITION ACTIVITIES  in the LCAM Deactivation Implementation Guide. These sections provide guidance for ensuring the protection of the worker, the public and the environment during the performance of deactivation work.