Clearance in Germany is far advanced. A complex regulatory framework exists in the Radiation Protection Ordinance (RPO / Strahlenschutzverordnung, StrlSchV) since 2001 which has replaced previous recommendations on clearance issued by the German Radiation Protection Commission (Strahlenschutzkommission, SSK). A number of options exist both for unconditional clearance (e.g. of all kinds of materials with no restrictions on the destination or future use) and for clearance for a specific purpose (e.g. recycling of metal scrap). For each clearance option there is a set of nuclide specific clearance levels which have been derived on the basis of the 10Sv/a individual dose criterion using complex radiological models which are tailored to the respective material cycles (metal scrap, buildings, building rubble, waste for disposal, sites). The clearance levels have been thoroughly reviewed by the SSK. An extensive comparison to sets of clearance levels used in other countries or issued as guidance by international bodies revealed that the correspondence between values is between good and acceptable taking into account country-specific approaches and special assumptions which would not necessarily pertain to German situations. Clearance is a major factor in the material management, especially of nuclear installations undergoing decommissioning. The variety of clearance options leaves the operator of a nuclear installation sufficient flexibility for optimisation of the material management. Clearance is of particular importance in a country like Germany where the estimated costs for a future repository are very high and the interim storage facilities for radioactive material are limited and costly. While the licensee is responsible for his material management, the issuance of a clearance permit is done by the regulatory body upon application. The regulators may choose to use the clearance levels and regulations as stipulated by the RPO, or to impose site-specific regulations on the licensee. The actual clearance measurement, i.e. checking the compliance of the residual radionuclide content in or on a particular material, building or site with the clearance levels, is performed under the responsibility of the licensee’s appointed radiation protection officer, with additional checks usually made by the regulator or an independent expert acting on his behalf. After compliance verification, the material will be reused, recycled or disposed of according to the clearance option, being then subject to the conventional waste legislation.
From Stefan Thierfeldt
Appeared in Kerntechnik 2005/01-02, Page 47-52
Direct link: http://www.nuclear-engineering-journal.com/KT100224
The role of clearance in Germany - release of materials, buildings and sites [166 KB]
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