Decommissioning Challenges In Residential Neighborhoods


A. L. Fellman


A major goal in any decommissioning project involves seeking and attaining stakeholder consensus. For most licensees, the interested parties include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) or Agreement State licensing agency, local government officials, and possibly a group or groups of interested citizens or environmental organizations. Issues of concern typically include proposed future land uses and the degree of cleanup necessary to bring the property into compliance with an appropriate cleanup standard. Local stakeholders generally are interested in assuring that the remediation returns the property to a condition which will provide a net benefit to the community at large. At several Superfund sites throughout the United States, however, the properties subject to "D&D" are not owned by radioactive material licensees but rather consist of privately owned, single family houses, yards, and gardens. Thousands of members of the general public have been told that their properties are potentially contaminated with radioactive materials and require radiological characterization activities as part of the field investigations conducted at Superfund sites. Contamination exceeding the cleanup levels written into Records of Decisions (RODs) by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been found in many such properties. The contribution of an effective public relations program to the success of these projects cannot be overstated. Property owners are often alarmed by news that they and their children live on part of a Superfund site. They will raise numerous issues, including radiation health risks and the impact of the property status on property values. Efficient cleanups are only possible when the concerns raised are answered thoroughly and satisfactorily by the decommissioning agency and/or its contractors.


This abstract was presented at the 35th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Decommissioning and Environmental Restoration", Regulatory Issues Session, 2/17/2002 - 2/20/2002, held in Orlando, FL.

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