Decommissioning Challenge of Destroyed Nuclear Facilities and Sites in Iraq
Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) Technical Consultant
2 (MoST) Deputy Minister
3 (MoST) Director of IDD
4 (MoST) Project Manager (Iraq)
The radioactive waste resulting from the former nuclear activities in Iraq has the potential to cause significant radiological issues to the environment and to the public living in the neighborhood of these nuclear sites. There are ten nuclear sites in Iraq which have been used for nuclear activities which contain significant amounts of radioactive waste. The destruction of these nuclear facilities during the 1991 Gulf war and the looting of the sites and facilities during the 2003 events aggravated the problem. As a result of these events, many of these nuclear facilities have lost their containment of the radioactive material and it now has an increased potential to be dispersed into the environment. All sites and facilities require decommissioning in order to ensure both radiological and non-radiological safety. However, it is not possible to undertake the decommissioning of all sites and facilities at the same time, therefore a risk-based prioritization methodology  has been developed in order to aid the decision-making process. This initial risk-based order of priority is changed when modifying factors are taken into account like Iraq’s isolation from the international nuclear community over the last two decades and the lack of experienced personnel, the lack of radioactive waste treatment and storage and the security situation in Iraq. A master decommissioning plan has been developed to decommissioning all nuclear facilities and sites in Iraq started from July 2008 till December 2025. The plan consists of three phases : the first phase (2008-2010) to decommission three low radiological risk facilities, the intent of this phase being to build the staff capacity and their decommissioning capabilities and experience, the second phase (2011-2015) to decommission five high radiological risk facilities using the experience gained in phase one and third phase (2016-2025) to decommission the remaining nuclear facilities and sites based on radiological risk prioritization scheme. The radioactive waste resulting from decommissioning of phase one were stored in cargo container placed at Al-Tuwaitha site as a temporary solution until rehabilitation of the damaged waste treatment facility and building of a waste disposal facility similar to ANDRA France. The Lessons Learned from the work in the early part of the Iraqi decommissioning programme will be applied to the later phases of the programme.
© SFEN 2013